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PayPal’s toll free telephone number

It surprises me that PayPal still isn’t advertising their toll free number, thinking that they can scare people off by only offering their local (long distance for most!) number on their contact page.

Anyway, here’s the toll free number: 1-888-221-1161.

I’ve gotta say, I’ve had some of the worst customer service experiences with PayPal. But at least if you can speak to them over the phone, you can tell them that!

Speak to a human customer service representative on the telephone at Rogers Wireless

So, it tells me to call 1-877-764-3772. I’m trying to activate my wireless cell phone account and, of course, this stupid service has a combination of touch tone and voice recognition service. So I’m saying into the phone, “Activate account”. How does it respond? “I think you’re calling about Cable TV service”. No, no I’m not. Anyway, I don’t want to tell the full story, but let’s just say it consists of me attempting to navigate the terrible menus and shouting “shut up, I hate you” (that didn’t help either, by the way).

Then, when I finally manage to speak to a CSR, they all claim ignorance and transfer me from department to department. But that’s beside the point. I managed to speak to a nice lady, who in the end, shared this semi-secret with me. Just say “agent” when confronted with those nasty menus and you’ll be transferred to a CSR. No guarantee on getting a nice CSR, though.

By the way, I tried the “agent” trick with 1-800-575-9090, but that doesn’t seem to work. It does work wonders with 1-877-764-3772. If anybody has the magic answer to the 1-800 as well, let me know.

Don’t buy from

See the link below to read stories of how people have been ripped off from this Quebec DVD company. It’s amazing how Internet fraud like this can continue. Anyway, I know this isn’t my usual “useful crap” but I used to love DVDSoon and order from them once in a while until they recently ripped me out of $17. Luckily I can get my credit card company to issue a chargeback, but MANY people have lost a lot more and haven’t gotten anything back.

Don’t buy from


August 7th update: looks like DVDSoon finally died! So what happened? Who knows… maybe one day there will be some news coverage on it.

2007 update: Here’s a Canadian news story (in French) covering the fraud.

How to grayscale / greyscale a PDF

I used to work for a school newsletter (actually, more like “donate unheard of amounts of unpaid time”) and you know advertisers… they’re always so last-minute! Last-minute ads are usually OK, unless they require modification, such as grayscaling! How in the world do you grayscale a PDF? I thought it’d be one of the most basic features to include in a terribly expensive program such as Adobe Acrobat, but no, it is nowhere to be found (September 10th update: read on… it actually does exist!). Technically, you can right click each item in Acrobat and “edit” it, but that’s a real pain in the ass, and sometimes it messes up item placement. You could also save the PDF as an image file, grayscale it, then re-PDF it, but that compromises quality and file size, among other things.

Anyway, I asked around to all the graphics artists that I knew, and did all the Google and Google Groups searching that I could. The graphics people said that real artists do their grayscaling before creating a PDF. Well, I was dealing with a time-crunch here! As for Google, I found nothing (maybe my searching skills suck)!

September 10th update:

Looks like there IS a feature built into Adobe Acrobat Professional (I just tested this on version 7.0)! There is no need to buy an extra, expensive piece of software as noted when I first made this post!

Select Tools… Print Production… Convert Colors…

Then, select one of the profiles that do grayscaling (such as one of the dot gains)

You can grayscale a PDF with a function already in Acrobat!

Based on a quick comparison, this already-built-in feature gives slightly worse quality than the Quite a Box of Tricks plugin that I mentioned below… but hey… free is better than not free.

In the end, one of my CGA-Canada cronies (thank you, kind sir aka Mentos Man) discovered this program called Quite a Box Of Tricks. It’s a plugin for Acrobat and works wonders. And by wonders, I mean it’s the only solution I’ve ever found and it is fast and easy. The downside, unfortunately, is that it costs a freakin’ 125 British pounds!

Quite a Box of Tricks: the only grayscale PDF tool I have ever known

So, if you’re reading this and want to create a free tool that will grayscale a PDF, please let me know so that I can update this post. Otherwise, Quite a Box of Tricks is all we’ve got!

Download all files in a directory

Have you ever been sent a web link to a folder containing a bunch of files to download? Well, it’s a pain to continually right-click and choose save as… and gets exponentially more painful as the number of files increases.

I found a free plugin for Firefox called DownThemAll, which will automatically download every link on a page. It will even give you a list of the files so that you can check/uncheck which ones you want. Downloads are even much faster with it. It is a truly amazing tool that I wish I’d found earlier!

And no, I’m not getting any sort of commission for this free plug.