Tag Archive: Step

Google Gagarin

It Was 50 Years Ago, Today

…when mankind left the gravitational confines of our Earth.

Google Gagarin

Google Gagarin

Yuri Gagarin

Yuri Gagarin

A poor boy from the steppes, Yuri Gagarin, simultaneously became the first man in space and the first man to leave Earth and orbit it completely.  (This is something that took NASA several steps before John Glenn finally emulated the feat).

While of humble background (like Jesus), his father was a carpenter (like Jesus) and his mother read voraciously (as Jesus knew the scriptures).  Obviously, Gagarin wasn’t Jesus, but he did die in his mid-thirties which parallels Jesus’s early death.

Gagarin Launch

Gagarin Launch

I was alive when Gagarin stunned the world by being shot into space.  I remember very few photos of the man or the event.  The West was naturally very embarrassed by being overshadowed by a dictator-led communist state.  Most scientists were just astonished.  Most politicians and the mainstream media were extremely alarmist in public (and fully actioned in private) because the inter-continental aspect of chucking a nuclear weapon sized piece of machinery aloft at the height of the cold war was paramount in their minds.

What struck me then and since was the fact that Gagarin always seemed to have a happy cheeriness about him.  When we now see his pre-flight pictures, his confidence is astounding, because remember, before the voyage, mankind had conflicting ideas about the very survivability for a man in the entirely hostile and unforgiving environment of space.  Some said that a man would die within half and hour from radiation….

Of course, the Soviet scientists had tested these theories with mammals (dogs & ape) and knew that even though the animals died on their space-flights (and were destined to die, by design), they knew that a man could survive the flight and if a return to Earth could be made, he’d live to see another day.  They’d also done a small step-by-step approach to their rocketry so even though the rocket was made primarily as an ICBM, its designer was actually more interested in getting men into space and had designed accordingly.  (see this article on Sergei Korolev and his space-flight dreams).

This, Gagarin duly did, by re-entering the atmosphere in his capsule and then, when the speed had sufficiently reduced, by opening his capsule and leaping from it to then descend on a conventional parachute.

Amazingly, this all worked, perfectly.

International Space Station

International Space Station

We now see the benefits of this early Soviet work because for the next few years, transport of people to the International Space Station (ISS) will be done by the Russian Soyuz spacecraft alone now that the NASA Space Shuttle is grounded for good.

The Soyuz is a direct descendant of Gagarin’s early capsule and the subsequent work and deaths of Soviet cosmonauts.  Later joint work with NASA and their own accidents and astronaut deaths have made the Soyuz platform very reliable, in space flight terms.  See this Wikipedia article for a full introduction to space-flight of all kinds.

Google Celebration

Google, characteristically, have celebrated Gagarin’s achievement (and that it was, make no mistake, he was a very, very, brave man), with a decorated main page which I’ve copied for posterity above.

Hooray For Gagarin.

So it was 50 years ago today.  An event that changed the world and our perception of it and ourselves  in the universe.

It’s only people some years older than myself who actually remember the previous world where people remained fixed to the planet and could only dream and wonder about the reality beyond.  For myself and folks younger than me, we can only to imagine what that world was like because we are part of the world that Gagarin’s bravery opened up for us..

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What is the Best Backup for Windows in a Small Home or Office?

What is the Best Backup for Windows in a Small Home or Office?

Which Windows Backup?  A History.

Over the years I’ve tried many systems for backing up crucial Windows data.  Currently for small-scale backups I use the ubiquitous and almost bullet-proof flash drives, my current one tipping the scales at 8Gb.  But for major backups, as the years have passed, I’ve used;

  1. Floppy discs – 1.4Mb
  2. Iomega Zip discs – 100Mb
  3. CDRW – 650Mb
  4. DVD-R – 4.7Gb
  5. Western Digital My Book Home Edition – 1Tb

They all had their problems and limitations.  The last one looked good with Firewire, USB2, ethernet  & eSATA connections – but it overheated and broke…..

Best Windows Backup!

My current system is from Synology and is a “DS210j – Budget-friendly 2-bay NAS server for Home and Small Business”

See: http://www.synology.com/enu/products/DS210j/index.php

I can heartily recommend the thing.  It has so much gubbins within it and far exceeds my limited expectations.  I installed two green 2Tb drives from Western Digital  in mirrored RAID for security and use the auto-backup software provided as well as Windows’ own.  This is extremely relevant for the large number of hits I’ve had to this posting where a major part of the problem is the time taken to do a backup!  In my case, the 750Gb just takes a few hours to copy across the Gigabit speed ethernet that the unit can use.

Addendum June 2011: The tool is a seriously capable bit of kit and I cannot recommend it enough. Get one!

It does everything it says on the tin, and more!  The whole thing cost me about 200 quid, plus an hour of my time to install.

Even its firewall is more configurable than any router I’ve used!  It can be used as a server for FTP or the web.  It comes with software for a host of things that mimic Flikr etc but without all the privacy or security issues inherent in off-line storage.  It’ll also run with any operating system because it itself is a mini-linux installation as it is,  and includes Windows, Apple and Linux applications.
Check it out, straight from their overview page:

Build Your Entertainment Center

Download Station 2 functions as a 24×7 BitTorrent, FTP, HTTP, eMule, and NZB download center. RapidShare and RSS download are now supported.

DLNA Compliant Media Sever ensures compatibility and interoperability between Disk Station and a wide range of DLNA-certified home devices.

iTunes Server provides an easy way to share music and videos with other iTunes clients within the local network. You can create playlists with songs that match the criteria you specified, and best of all, iTunes will update these playlists automatically as you add or delete songs.

Audio Station supports music, Internet radio stations, and iPod playback with connected USB speakers. Web-streaming mode allows your music to be shared with multiple users over the Internet.

Back Up Your Precious Data

DSM 2.2 offers comprehensive solutions for you to back up data stored on Disk Station or your desktop computer to the Disk Station.

Server backup includes two alternatives: Network Backup and Local Backup. Both allow you to back up data in the shared folders and databases. Incremental backup option and flexible schedules are available. All can be easily configured with a step-by-step wizard.

Desktop backup provides Windows PC users with the Synology Data Replicator 3 for backing up desktop data, Outlook, and Outlook Express emails to their Disk Station by choosing one of the three backup modes: Immediate, Sync, and Scheduled backup, while Mac OS X users can use Apple Time Machine backup application to back up their critical data to Disk Station.

USBCopy allows you to quickly back up your data from an USB storage device such as an USB flash or USB card reader to the Disk Station with just one single touch on the front-panel Copy button.

Enrich Your Web Presence

Photo Station 3 simplifies photo, video, and blog sharing over the Internet. The flexibility of photo theme customization, blog layout arrangement, visitor’s privilege setting, RSS feed, and the dazzling 3-dimentional photo browsing with Cooliris make Photo Station 3 your state-of-the-art lifestyle sharing center on the Internet.

Web Station with built-in PHP+MySQL allows users to publish their own websites or install numerous popular open-source programs.

Access With Your iPhone/Mobile Device

The iPhone App DS audio allows Disk Station users to stream music stored on Disk Station with their iPhone/iPod® touch where Internet access is available, while DS photo allows uploading photos from the iPhone/iPod® touch to their Disk Station.

Users with a mobile device running on Windows Mobile® 6.0, iPhone OS 2.2.1 onward, or Symbian OS 9.1 can log on their Disk Station to view photos with Mobile Photo Station and read supported file formats with Mobile File Station where Internet access is available.

Eco Friendly

Eco Friendly

Synology Disk Station is designed and developed perpetually with the concept of energy saving. Compared with average PC counterparts, Synology Disk Station consumes a relatively low amount of power and has the HDDs hibernate when not in use. This not only helps to save energy but also extends the lifespan of the hard disk.

Synology Disk Station truly earns the title of “green product” because of the unique Scheduled Power On/Off feature, and the smart fan design effectively cools down the system with minimum power consumption, yet keeps the system quiet on operation.

Finally, all Synology products are produced with RoHS compliant parts and packed with recyclable packing materials. Synology recognizes its responsibility as a global citizen and is continually working to reduce the environmental impact of the products we create.

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Antimatter: The Real Giant Leap

One Small Step for Man, one Giant Leap For Mankind

When Armstrong said those words (except I missed out the ‘a’), it looked like men & women would be walking tall on all sorts of astronomical bodies in a continuation of the Apollo programme.  As we no know, things didn’t quite work out like that though, and the Moon is still the only place we’ve been except our dear Earth – although unmanned and earth-based exploration continues in great leaps and bounds.

CERN Makes Antimatter Last

But although announced with a small fanfare, the news that CERN has made antimatter atoms in the form of anti-hydrogen last for getting on for half a second made me blink twice.  See BBC News item here.

It’s my guess that this is the real “small leap for mankind” that will eventually lead to the real “giant leap”.

We are now talking the Star Trek language that everyone understands;  antimatter, containment fields, annihilation.  Soon we’ll have dilithium crystals and the stock market to sell them in!

Consequences of Antimatter Creation

But seriously, it’s one hell of a leap.  The big puzzle is why matter (and thus ourselves because we are made of it), is here.

Why is there any of it, anyway?

… …  because in every experiment that we’ve done, matter and antimatter cancel each other out!    Exactly!

So the physical laws that we’ve invented or discovered, right back to the Big Bang, all say that we should not be here.  Any of us.

Current physics says that our universe  should only contain the energy from the mutual annihilation of matter & antimatter.  But there is also matter, which is tightly rolled up bits of energy….

Self-evidently, we are here, which means that matter had a slight excess over anti-matter just after the Big Bang.

So I think that somewhere within the physics of our creation of antimatter, lies the answer to the matter/antimatter conundrum, of that I’m sure.

We’ve made a few atoms so far and watched them annihilate with matter on contact.  The next steps will be to make and keep zillions indefinitely until they are needed.  What for?

Starships perhaps?

Animality

Now suppose we make these starships.  Our current selves are very destructive, both towards our environment and ourselves.

  • We live on our Earth, us in the West consuming like locusts while those less well off try a rapid catch-up.
  • We have never had a year without a major loss of life through conflict, disease or other disaster.

In short, though we may well have the technology and explorative urge for interstellar travel in the future, our present state of intense animality leaves us unsuited to such endeavours.  It’s unlikely that any expedition would arrive at its destination intact.  They’d self-destruct.  It’s what people do.

We must change ourselves before we can aspire change our location in the universe, or else our present location (the Earth), will be a blackened desert.  Un-departable.

Soka Gakkai

Today is exactly  the 80th anniversary of the Soka Gakkai.

It’s a Buddhist organisation with its philosophy wrapped up in its name of  “Value Creation Society“.

Let us all use three words as tenets, a true mantra for a civilised survival on Earth for generations to come.

When the time arrives for the Earth’s ultimate destruction, if we haven’t made a “Value Creation Society” that would allow our escape, then we are quite simply, stuffed.

So join the millions of Soka Gakkai Buddhists today as they celebrate their inheritance from one man, then another and another.

Makiguchi was his name and he died for his principles in a Japanese gaol in 1944.  He and his disciple Toda were hounded by the animality of the times and only Toda was left at the end of WW2.

From him, and then Ikeda, the Soka Gakkai  owes its existence, and we all need such principles if the magic of antimatter creation and containment is to mean anything in the future.  It’s a truly wonderful thing.

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The Three Rules of Trust – Using SwipeAuctions/Bids as an Example

Introduction

There’s a well-known adage that says,

Don’t believe everything you read in the papers (Point 1)

Another, (which is derived from the mantra of the old UK stock market) goes like,

An Englishman’s word is his bond (Point 2)

Make what you want of them, but many people still go by this, replacing “An Englishman’s” with the word “MY”.

The Need for New Rules of Trust

The internet has made the job of snake oil salesmen, gangsters and other assorted conmen so much easier that the adages need to be re-thought and rules written.  It’s a bit like Isaac Asimov’s Rules of Robotics.   Here are mine, but please note the notes just below….

Note 1: All on-line businesses are required to reveal their correct identity through the WHOIS process.  The only exclusions are for private non-trading individuals in certain countries.  (Some people have a bit of a debate about this, but when you sign up for a domain, you’ll see!)

Note 2: The internet, (or world wide web), by its very nature is like the newspaper business – see Point 1 above!

Note 3: There is a consensus among decent people and a certain legality regarding tax etc., that most legitimate businesses would like to be known and contactable, or else they appear like spiv barrow boys on the make.

Note 4: There is no note 4… yet.

The New Rules of Trust

Rule 1:

Do not believe anything on-line without double or treble checking as a minimum.

Rule 2:

For any business that hides its WHOIS entry, do not believe anything that they say!!

Rule 2 and a half:

For any business that previously hid their WHOIS entry and later chooses to reveal it – same as Rule 2!

Example: Jesse Willms and his “businesses”

n.b. This is one example.  This whole web area is currently ballooning and Willms is not alone!

  • A business that is anonymous, is on the edge of trust. (Willms’ businesses have previously been cloaked in the main.  Only recently have they had publicly exposed WHOIS records.)
  • A business that uses false or misleading advertising, is on the edge of trust. (This very website is plagued by dodgy adverts, for which I apologise – it takes some time for the Google adwords filters to kick into play.)

The infamous Jesse Willms got his internet start by selling counterfeit software from Microsoft and Symantech (at least), and for which he had to pay oodles of dollars in damages.

Note: Willms translates this information on his website fluffs like so:

Before becoming a philanthropist, Willms was known for starting his first business – buying and selling computers and software when he was 16 – and launching several Internet companies by the time he was 22.  see http://jessewillms.com/ & link & link (two links WHOIS hidden)

His current activities are in the business of skirting the lotteries and gambling laws with On-line “Bid” “Auctions”.   These (and Willms is only one of many) are so far removed from the normal concept of an auction that they are more like Bingo.

In tandem with this he’s promoting himself as an internet good guy while still hypocritically continuing along the same vein of his previous activities. Like so…

His previous businesses included flogging green tea and acai fruits to either clean your bowels or make you thin with rippling muscles, and nicking the idea of and ruining the rotten business of a teeth whitening company, for which there have been sues and counter-sues which were resolved “with prejudice” as the wigs say (see link courtesy of @Justin Asking).

Like many fly-by-night websites, these were all promoted and run:

  • via email spam from a plethora of hidden marketing businesses, some of which he may or may not have had direct control although he admits to having close contact….(see info from @Justin Asking again)
  • via fake websites in the form of informational blogs or news websites designed to appear as such, although minutely disclaimered as otherwise – good link with screenshots here and another hereThese first two are run under the concept of “affiliate marketing” which harbours a whole realm of fly-by-night operations with virtually no scruples or accountability.  Someone once remarked that managing affiliates was like herding cats….
  • via a plethora of drop-point contact addresses, widely dispersed around the globe having no relevance to site visitors’ locations.
  • via a plethora of dubious phone number contacts of highly variable functionality.
  • with an early predilection for multiple un-called for monetary withdrawals from customer credit accounts
  • with a penchant for rapidly changing website names that came and went faster than the seasons although much of the modus operandi and contact points would remain unaltered – a good test for these is that the registration period is generally only a year.

Swipe Offerings

SwipeBids.com which kicked off at the end of 2009 soon morphed into SwipeAuctions.com  (see final point above!)  How long this lasts is anyone’s guess… (p.s. swipebids domain expires soon).

Willms' Latest Fib

Currently, you’ll find that SwipeBids.com now redirects back to SwipeAuctions.com at a “prelogin” page.  There, sit a heap of hysterically hypocritical statements right on this front page – see screenshot on the left and dissection below!

This website is Jesse Willms’ latest saucy effort at world domination! Tied in with this has been a massive internet hype of “Jesse Willms, the caring philantropist”.

The plethora of websites for which he’s been loathed continues in the myriad of hype sites and linkage referrals containing the vomit inducing self-promotional bilge, plus a continuing swathe of fake news websites.

Uncharacteristically, he sticks with only one “bid auction” website…?  Hmm?  (p.s. since this was written, the site has been pulled although rumours are rife about a new startup…!)

Meanwhile, like snake oil, the Swipe-Bid-Auction scam has proved very enticing to all the scum of the earth and has turned into a veritable plague…  (p.s. since this was written, the plague of copycat sites is now a deluge)

Bid Auction Scum Fight it Out – it’s Getting Dirty

Dirty?

Yep! There’s a veritable bidding war going on to get to the top of the Google search results and the Facebook sidebar.  As noted elsewhere, BidSauce.com has joined the affray and Willms’ lawyers have been issuing writs a-plenty.

Amongst others…..  How so?

A. Well do a Google search for BidSauce.com, SwipeAuctions.com & SwipeBids.com (click links to see results – my results today are below), and you’ll see what I mean.

BidSauce.com

SwipeAuctions.com

SwipeBids.com

Bid Auction Scum New Kids on the Block

My results show the following paid for ads on Google and their WHOIS hidden status.

BidSauce.com

Bidhere.com – Hidden

Biddi.com – disclosed UK company, KSB Trading Ltd

SwipeAuctions.com

SwipeAuctions-Register.com – Hidden!  It also redirects to SwipeAuctions.com which is registered in California.  Check out this info from @Not Kevin for an earlier version of the listings.

MadBid.com – disclosed as Marcandi Ltd in the UK

Bidhere.com – Hidden (again!)

SwipeBids.com

No paid for ads at the top but some of the above appear in the right-side advert box of paid for ads.  Interestingly, swipeauctions.com is top!

What Does it Mean and What Should I Do?

puZZleMean? It means that many people have seen this “bid-auction” as a good bandwagon to join, while it lasts!

Do? What I do is click on the paid for ads as much as possible! These ads are costing well over a pound to place and it costs those businesses for every click!!!   (n.b. if you think I’m being hypocritical in allowing similar ads onto this website, then read my privacy policy.)

If it’s Facebook where I see the ad, I also click on it so that it fires up in a new window so the geezers have to pay again, then I click the cross next to the advert and report the adverts as “Misleading” – because, from all my research as seen on this website and others, plus the example searches shown above, they are all misleading.

Penny/Bid Auctions Mislead?

They mislead as it’s gambling, not an auction.

They mislead as you pay to enter the auction at each step, it’s not a bid.

They take money in advance – no auction does this, even one for a Van Gogh or an old wardrobe, because anyone can bid!

Swipe Auctions Duff Photo Evidence

Willms' Latest Fib (at the bottom)

Yep! At the bottom of his new landing page of swipeauctions.com, under “picture testimonials” Jesse states, today:

Each and every testimonial on the site should have a picture of the customer who sent it in. You can only use someone’s picture with his or her permission, so if there is a photo you can be sure the testimonial is legitimate. If there is no photo, the site’s management could have written a false testimonial.

Compare and contrast with my screen-shots of his website here where I explicitly show the fake photos from a testimonial: http://strangelyperfect.tv/7955/facebook-msnbc-jesse-willms-swipe-auctions-and-doctored-photos/ –   these photos are from an affiliate’s website about which there is some conflict of ownership evidence.

And compare Jesse’s fine words with the fantastic investigative ScamRaiders revelation that the picture of an “auctioned” Honda as used on his website was taken and then Photo-shopped even before the website was set up!!!

Don’t you just love it when the creeps are so blatantly bad? !!

Suggested Further Reading

http://www.webcops.net/just_think_media_spam_scams_8001.html – Best expose on early Willms’ scams.  How he threatened legal action as his whereabouts were exposed.

http://strangelyperfect.tv/7955/facebook-msnbc-jesse-willms-swipe-auctions-and-doctored-photos/#comments-2834 – info on the incarnations and IP addresses of Willms’ Swipe**** sites  (I am currently taking legal advice on this article so it’s withdrawn pending notice.  Contact me for its contents which most right-minded folk would consider fair and accurate reporting.)

http://www.jimlillig.com/internet-marketing/abcs-news-2020-features-jesse-willms-among-others-in-alleged-deceptive-practices-story/ – smiling Jesse is exposed by “the CPA Guy”  n.b. currently offline but transcribed here courtesy of this link.

http://www.bbbroundup.com/ – discredits much of the BBB rating system and how entries flip and change due to possible business collusion.

http://www.walletpop.com/blog/2010/09/14/better-business-bureau-risks-losing-credibility-over-ratings-co/ – more info on BBB ratings not being what they seem…

http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showpost.html?p=36648669&postcount=22 – comment detailing the above BBB conflict of interests and how Jesse Willms’ businesses generated 2612 complaints at the BBB before they revised his status with his newer websites!  n.b.  This is one of the top UK websites!

http://onlinescamwebsites.com/how-do-penny-auctions-work/ – clearly explains how these “auctions” work

Suggested Reverse IP Checks

Reverse IP checking is a very good indicator that many websites are related in some businesses, commercial or personal sense.  Using this website, this website strangelyperfect.tv shows as follows:

Found 4 domains hosted on the same web server as strangelyperfect.tv (174.120.2.125).

ceinonline.org

crawlingchaos.co.uk

strangelyperfect.tv

www.foetusproducts.com

This is hardly surprising and I make no secret of the fact…

Using this website again, enter these three domains into the box. What you find are a host of probably related dodgy websites, fake blogs and news sites, and other stuff. Look and see!

SWIPEAUCTIONS-REVIEW.COM :2 domains

live9news.com, swipeauctions-review.com

SWIPEAUCTIONS-REGISTER.COM: 101 domains including such gems as:

1r2chat.com 24-7keybank.com  AcaiBerryBurnTrial.com  ColonCleanse4FreeTrial.com  Resveratrol-Resveratrol.com  acaiforceformen.com buy-wii-in-stock.com  buyipodnow.net  buyps4console.com  buyps4now.com  consumerhealthreporter.com  consumernewsreporter.com dazzlesmilefreetrial.com findluxurywatches.com   goboff.com hairexpert.org myhairexpert.org natural-hair-transplant.com  naturalhairtransplant.org swipeauctions-register.com thumoney.com  top3-coloncleanse.com top3-whiteteeth.com  www.buywiinow.net www.findluxurywatches.com www.natural-hair-transplant.com www.thumedia.net  www.thumoney.com  www.top3-resveratrol.com  www.tradeblogger.net

I’ve omitted most of the “foreign” domains.  Make of that what you will but it is noticable that many snake oil websites are to be found grouped under a single IP address.

SWIPEAUCTIONS.COM: has just the canonical and www domains.

Disclaimer

Many things are said above that rope all “bid” “auctions” into the same boat.  While some may have differing operational procedures with perfectly legal transactional and customer services, and may differ in their Terms & Conditions to Jesse Willms’ offerings, I accept those facts.

However, I consider all web-operations in this field of “bid” “auction” to be nothing more than gambling, and they should all be governed by those gambling laws applicable to their country of viewing and business location.


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How to Clean Up Outlook Contact Phone Numbers using VBA

Introduction

VBA for Fix Phone Numbers

VBA for Fix Phone Numbers

I got a new phone and when synchronised with Microsoft Outlook, the phone numbers don’t dial out properly because of spaces & STD bracketing.  It’s an LG – the previous Nokia was great, as was it’s synchronising software!

Solution

I used VBA in a workaround via Microsoft Excel!  (If you don’t have Excel, this won’t work…).  It will convert phone numbers like (+44) 1234 456789 to 0044123456789.  It also removes “-” entries and ones with multiple spaces as a number, like ”   ” which are invisible but muck stuff up!  [but see later addendum for later code additions, code is here: FixPhoneNumbers – SP]

First Step

Export the “Contacts” folder from Outlook as an Excel spreadsheet to your hard drive.  Give it a sensible name!

Second Step

Open the Excel file and then press Alt + F11 to open the Visual Basic Editor (VBE).  We’re gonna write code now!

Third Step

Insert a new code module.  You can give it a name if you like.  I didn’t and just left it as it was.

Fourth Step

Copy this VBA code into the module in the VBE. (That’s a screenshot of my code above!)

Option Explicit

Public Sub FixPhoneNumbers()
Dim rg As Range
Dim r As Integer
Dim c As Integer
Dim wks As Worksheet
Dim s As String

Application.ScreenUpdating = False
Set wks = ThisWorkbook.ActiveSheet
r = wks.Cells(1, 1).CurrentRegion.Rows.Count
c = wks.Cells(1, 1).CurrentRegion.Columns.Count

With wks
     .Columns("AD:AT").NumberFormat = "@"

 For c = 30 To 46 Step 1 'all phone fields
      For r = 2 To .Cells(1, 1).CurrentRegion.Rows.Count
      Set rg = .Cells(r, c)
           s = rg.Value
           s = Replace(s, "(", "")
           s = Replace(s, " ", "")
           s = Replace(s, ")", "")
           s = Replace(s, "+44", "0044")
           s = Replace(s, "+", "00")
           s = Replace(s, "-", "")
      If Len(s) < 7 And Len(s) > 0 Then s = "01278" & s 'assume local phone #
          rg.Value = s
      Next r
 Next c
End With

Application.ScreenUpdating = True
Set rg = Nothing
Set wks = Nothing

End Sub

The key is the lines with the Replace function.  Additional lines can be easily added if more gotchas are spotted in your own numbers.

If you don’t need a line to run, remark (Rem) it out by putting an apostrophe at the line beginning, like this one here… ‘

Fifth Step

From the Debug menu in the VBE, compile the code.  This ensures that no typos etc have got in.

Save the file.

Sixth Step

Now run the procedure called “FixPhoneNumbers”.  The simplest way to do this is to make sure the screen cursor is somewhere within the code you’ve copied in – and then hit F5 on the keyboard.

If this is confusing, go to the main Excel screen, hit Alt + F8 and run the macro, which unsurprisingly is called “FixPhoneNumbers”!!

Seventh Step

Save the file again if the changes look alright.

If they’re not, then close the file without saving, then re-open, and adjust the VBA code to suit your columns, which will be the most likely thing you’ll need to adjust.

Then do all the above again, from the Fifth Step onwards.

Eighth Step

Import the file back into Outlook.

Overwrite old contacts with the new ones.

There should be no need to map fields etc because we haven’t mucked about with them!

Caveats

  • The code is designed to work with a standard output dump from Outlook.  If you’ve added or removed fields from the contacts part of Outlook, the export will be different and you’ll need to check which columns contain phone numbers.  Modify the VBA code to suit.  In total, there were 92 columns in the export from Outlook, so if you don’t have this number then you’ll probably need a quick code modification. (That’s why I checked the count at the beginning of the code with the CurrentRegion bit so that I could get the dataset size.  In the end, I only needed a row count, but I’ve left the code in so that you can step through the code using F8 to check yours out.  Clear?  Don’t worry. )
  • Some entries I had were local phone numbers.  My code is 01278 so this is added and will need changing to suit your own local STD code if you’ve entered phone numbers without the exchange.
  • I check that the UK international code is correct.  Change the 44 to your own as appropriate.
  • There’s no error checking in the code.  But it should work – it did for me!

ADDENDUM: New Code Version!

This code is smoother and has more features than previously, although I still don’t error check.

It’s advantages are:

  1. It checks all columns and looks for the words “Phone” or “Fax” in the data headings.  In this way, any logical Outlook customisations are taken care of!
  2. It prompts the user for their local STD and National codes, placing these in the correct place.

Next Steps:

  1. I’ll turn the code into an xla add-in with a one-click button.
  2. I’ll make the whole thing work directly on the Outlook contacts from within Outlook.  I’ve used the Outlook object model before, just not very often!  So watch this space as current Outlook addins are pricey and a bit of a kludge from what I’ve read…

The New (Improved) Code Version

Download plain text version: FixPhoneNumbers

Option Explicit

Public Sub FixPhoneNumbers()
Dim rg As Range
Dim r As Integer
Dim c As Integer
Dim wks As Worksheet
Dim s As String
Dim LocalCode As Variant
Dim NationalCode  As Variant

Application.ScreenUpdating = False

LocalCode = InputBox("Do You want Full Code for Local Numbers?" _
                     , "Enter local STD/City dialling code" _
                     , "01278")
NationalCode = InputBox("Do You want cleaned up National Code? e.g. 44=UK" _
                      & vbCrLf _
                      & "+44 goes to 0044" _
                     , "Enter National code" _
                     , "44")

Set wks = ThisWorkbook.ActiveSheet

With wks
       .Range(.Cells(1, 1), .Cells(1, 1).End(xlToRight)).Font.Bold = True

          For c = 1 To .Cells(1, 1).CurrentRegion.Columns.Count Step 1 'all columns
              s = LCase(.Cells(1, c).Value)       's picks up column heading
                                                  'lower case to match search string later
                                                  'as text compare doesn't work
                'now find phone/fax fields and if found, fix numbers
     If (InStr(s, "phone") + InStr(s, "fax")) > 0 Then
            .Columns(c).NumberFormat = "@"      'make text format for tel nos
                                                'allows leading zeroes!

                     For r = 2 To .Cells(1, 1).CurrentRegion.Rows.Count
                         Set rg = .Cells(r, c)
                         s = rg.Value            're-use s
                         s = Replace(s, "(", "")
                         s = Replace(s, " ", "")
                         s = Replace(s, ")", "")
                             If Len(NationalCode) > 0 Then 'not empty string
                                  s = Replace(s, "+" & NationalCode, "00" & NationalCode)
                             End If
                         s = Replace(s, "+", "00")
                         s = Replace(s, "-", "")
                             If Len(s) < 7 And Len(s) > 0 Then s = LocalCode & s
                              rg.Value = s
                     Next r

     Else
        'nowt
     End If
       Next c
End With

Application.ScreenUpdating = True
Set rg = Nothing
Set wks = Nothing

End Sub

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