Archive for September, 2009

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!


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: ,

Finally, a Microsoft device I like!

September 23rd, 2009 No comments

Wow, Microsoft “Courier” prototype, how I covert thee…..

Dual-screen Microsoft ‘booklet’ uncovered • Register Hardware.

Categories: Computers Tags: , ,


September 4th, 2009 No comments

Last night, for a work function, I got to stay in the Hilton Metropole in Brighton. Very nice!

I had a great time there, room was comfortable, etc. Except I was somewhat baffled by the need to have two specimen jars in the bathroom….

Categories: Humour, Work Tags:

Syncing Google Calendar to your iPhone

September 1st, 2009 1 comment

I’ve just been reading up on something cool from Google.

Basically, I wanted to get my calendars on Google Calendar synchronised with my iPhone (because really, my google calendar is my main calendar) and seeing as iPhone OS 3.0 supports the CalDAV standard, it should be a piece of piss.

Anyway. Turns out, you can add the calendar quite easily by following these instructions

The problem with this approach though is that you only get one calendar. Fine if you only have one, but if you have several (like I do,) then it’s no bloody good.

So, lots of references to this page later…..

… and I finally twig what’s going on.

Turns out, Google have implemented an Exchange Server which lets you synchronise Calendar items and Contacts with your account.

Reading between the lines, you have to be careful regarding the contacts in your GMail account, as possibly they end up on your iPhone and any contacts on your iPhone end up on GMail. It sounds like you can turn that off, but actually it sounds quite useful too. The added plus of that is, if you change the contacts in GMail, they should synchronise back to Address Book on your Mac once you plug you iPhone back in. So, one address book to rule them all.

The added plus is, you get all of your calendars on you iPhone and you can add and remove items to your hearts content!