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An Interesting Lesson

November 5th, 2009 No comments

I’ve just discovered something interesting.

If you put hot water, with some drops of Olbas Oil in it, into a polystyrene cup….

The Olbas Oil eats the polystyrene.

I now have a wet desk.

Categories: Life Tags:

BBC iPlayer to hit Freesat boxes by month’s end • Register Hardware

November 4th, 2009 No comments

Hell yeah!

iPlayer HD on my Freesat HD Box. Sooooo want this to be good……

BBC iPlayer to hit Freesat boxes by month’s end • Register Hardware.

Now need to go home and work out the best way to plug my Freesat HD box into my network. A switch near the network wall socket makes sense, then I can hook up my Blu-Ray player too. That’ll be MythTV box, Freesat HD box and Blu-Ray player on the same switch.

Categories: TV Tags: , , ,

Yahoo! Email

October 30th, 2009 1 comment

Well, having faffed for a while with Google Sync’ing to my iPhone, I decided to take on a much simpler challenge….

Setting up my girlfriends Yahoo! Mail account on her lovely new MacBook Pro.

Simples, I thought.

When I opened up Mail.app it asked me for her email address, and then suggested a POP3 server address with “.plus.” in the address. I wanted her to use IMAP as she uses the email on her phone and wants to continue with that.

Looking up the IMAP information was quite easy, and I was also able to copy the information from her mobile as well.

Unfortunately, nothing that I tried actually worked – even though those settings worked fine on her mobile.

It turns out, that Yahoo! don’t want you to access your email from your computer, unless you are willing to pay for it – with their “Plus” service.

Except that it works on her phone….

And the reason is…. Because Yahoo! filter access by IP range. Seriously. I’m not kidding.

That’s right, Yahoo! are strapped for cash, so don’t want you accessing your email, apart from on your mobile, because that drives you to their site. Shame that’s now kind of driving my girlfriend away from them towards Google…..

Stupid.

Categories: Computers Tags: , ,

Help Sponsor Me to Grow A ‘Tash for Movember!

October 29th, 2009 No comments

Help me raise the profile of prostate cancer by sponsoring me to grow the best god-damn ‘tash for Movember 2009!

My Sponsorship Page

Categories: Life Tags:

BBC NEWS – Auschwitz launches Facebook site

October 15th, 2009 No comments

BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Auschwitz launches Facebook site.

Hmmm, I don’t think:

“Mark’s become a fan of Auschwitz”

is something I particularly want people to see……

Maybe I won’t join  that group just yet….

Categories: Blogging, Computers, Humour Tags: ,

The EHIC – Replacement for the E111

October 12th, 2009 No comments

If you’re planning on applying for your EHIC card (the European Health Insurance Card – the replacement for the old E111 form) make sure you head to https://www.ehic.org.uk/ and not “http://www.ehic.org/” as the latter are a private company that charge £10 for the privilege of submitting your request for your free card….

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

More Google Sync’ing Goodness!

October 7th, 2009 No comments

For the past few days, I’ve been trying to update and clear out my GMail contact list so that I could sync it to my phone.

Yesterday, I achieve my clean-up goals, and so this morning I backed up my contacts onto my Mac and turned on the contact sync’ing.

Looking on the Google website, it says that to only synchronise the ‘My Contacts’ group, you should chose to delete all of the contacts on your iPhone, otherwise the ‘All Contacts’ group is sync’d. I dutifully deleted all of the contacts because I had spent time sorting out the groups.

Once I turned the sync’ing on, I went to see what Contacts I had, and to my surprise, there were none! I wasn’t worried too much as I could restore them from my Mac, but that wouldn’t be for a few days.

Half an hour later, I went back and checked again and everything had finally synchronised, so there wasn’t a problem. If you get into the same situation, I guess the advice is not to panic, and to leave your phone to do it’s thing for a while!

One thing I didn’t pay attention to was the ‘Favourites’ option – I have a handfull of people in that list and it cones in handy. Fortunately, after the sync, the favourites list is preserved and are mapped to the same named contacts from Google.

However, I have noticed that I have contacts from my ‘All Contacts’ group in the list, so it looks like the advice on Google’s website might be wrong.

Other than that, Contact sync’ing is a success!

Categories: Computers Tags: , , , ,

Uh-Oh. Someone needs to learn some programming principles

October 5th, 2009 No comments

More on Google iPhone Sync’ing

September 25th, 2009 No comments

Well, I’ve spent a bit of time working with the Google synchronising on my iPhone that I spoke about recently, so I thought I should probably post an update to tell you how I’ve got on.

Well, the Calendar sync’ing is bloody fantastic. I’ve started to get my arse in gear and get my life slightly more organised, and it’s really helping. There is a slight delay in the synchronising, a 10-15 seconds at most, I’d guess, but other than that, it’s perfect. The only downside that I’ve found is that I have recently been playing with some of the lab features of Google Calendar, specifically, the calendar which shows you the birthdays of my Google Contacts and the ToDo List calendars. The Contacts list calendar is transferred to my phone, but the ToDo list isn’t. I’m guessing that that is more to do with Google not sharing it, rather than the iPhone not capable of receiving it.

At the time I set up the synchronisation, I did not enable the contact synchronising, as the contacts on my phone are far more up-to-date. In the inbetween time, I’ve been busy updating my Google contacts, but they still aren’t completely updated, so I still need some time before I can switch that on. However, I did discover that I can already search the contacts and view them on my phone, by using the Contacts App, and pressing the back arrow at the top left of the screen. I can then see the contacts on my phone and my Google contacts.

Finally, and most excitingly, Google have now activated the mail synchronisation, and you can get Push email from Google to your phone. Now, I’m wondering whether this is particularly useful. I retrieve emails from my GMail account using IMAP, I receive updates from that every 15 minutes or so (a preference that I chose, but it could be sooner.) In most cases, that is sufficient for my needs, if I needed it to be faster, I can change the checking interval. The major advantage of Push Email is that you receive it almost immediately. The major disadvantage is that it keeps a constant connection and therefore it drains the battery life of the phone much quicker. So, is it worth it? For me, no, but then I don’t need near instant access to my GMail account – and maybe you should consider that too before you turn it on.

Categories: Computers, iPhone Tags: , , , ,

Changing the Default Java Swing Appearance

September 24th, 2009 No comments

The other day, I was playing with ArgoUML at work for a little bit of research.

When it opened up, it had that god-awful “Metal” look that all Java programs get. I knew that it was possible to change the appearance of Swing object programmatically so that they can have a native appearance and wondered if it was possible to change the default appearance.

I realised this morning that I had seen ArgoUML, with a Windows appearance, in a screenshot on their website. That made me realise that it must be possible to change the default setting.

Cue quick googling session!

That turned up this somewhat unhelpful page from Sun. This page explains how to do it programmatically, but at the bottom explains how to change the default setting. Unfortunately, the instructions on how to change it are practically non-existant (along the lines of “change this setting in this file. Create the file if it doesn’t exist” – no explanation of what to change it to, what the format of the file should be, etc.)

Fortunately, it also links through to this Java utility (German original, Google Translation) which lets you change the setting.

I ran this, chose my default setting, saved the file into my $JAVA_HOME/lib directory and now it works!

Huzzah!

Leads me to question why there isn’t some Java settings utility bundled with the JRE in the first place!

Another interesting thing about the Sun Java page I listed earlier is that it argues

The underlying question is: should a Java program look and feel native anyway? One of the great ideas behind Java has always been “write once, run anywhere.” Taking that into account, shouldn’t a Java program look and feel the same, regardless which platform it runs on? Wouldn’t it be desirable if all Java programs had the same appearance?

Err, I would say “No”. The majority of the time, a user expects an application to look and feel like all of the other applications on their system. The vast majority of computer users do not care if I have written a program in Java, C, C++, Delphi, D, whatever – they just want it to work – hell most computer users probably haven’t even heard of Java! So why force Java to look differently? Default it to look like every other application on their system.

Categories: Computers, Programming Tags: ,