Thursday, December 31, 2009

Recipes: Rich Chocolate Cake

Most Disastrous Cakes EverThis isn't the easiest cake recipe in the world (see picture), but as long as you make the icing nice and thick it will cover any imperfections in the cake itself. The hardest bit is folding in the egg whites at the end as by that point the mixture has usually solidified into a solid ball, for this reason I melt the butter, not that it helps much. It's also a good idea to let the cake cool (and thereby solidify) completely before slicing it in half, so remember to leave enough time for that.

The cake:
  1. Beat 8oz butter with 8oz brown sugar.
  2. Beat in 4 egg yolks one at a time adding a portion of 4 oz self raising flour after each one.
  3. Fold in the rest of the flour, 4oz ground/chopped hazelnuts and 8oz melted chocolate.
  4. Fold in the beaten egg whites.
  5. cook the cake for 1 hr 15 mins at 170C, 325F, 4G. If it starts to get too brown cover with foil.
Once cooled slice into two and fill with 1/2 pint whipped cream.

The icing:

Melt and mix 6oz plain chocolate with 4oz sifted icing sugar and 4 tablespoons water.

Decorate with chopped hazelnuts.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Short Reviews: Cinnamon Kitchen, Liverpool Street, London

Red DeerThe Cinnamon Kitchen is excellent, in fact I think on my last visit it over took Konstam as my favourite restaurant in London.

All of the mains that I have tasted have been very good, the roast goose breast and rack of lamb especially stood out, although I can only describe the safron sauce that the lamb came with as "weird", I'm afraid I can't remember what the goose came with. And the pork chop I had the time before with vindaloo spices (just pleasantly warm) and marsala mash was perfect. The menu seems to change quite regularly, so don't sue me if these aren't available when you go.

While I wouldn't recommend one particular main the desserts are not so consistent, they're all interesting, but I would especially recommend the banana tart tatan, and if you don't like banana the chocolate fondant and mousse. The ice creams are good too.

Price wise the Cinnamon Kitchen is fairly varied, starting at a veggie main for about £12 to the red deer at about £30. My one caveat about this restaurant is that, in the tradition of Indian restaurants everywhere, they try to sell you more than you want or need, on our first visit we ended up with six starters between four people.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Short Reviews: Sandi Toksvig's Christmas Cracker, South Bank

Like watching your child's school play: slightly amusing, but only because you know some of the people in it. Five Guys Named Moe and the three opera singers were all very good and professional, something notable by its absence in the rest of the cast. The frequent jokes about needing to rehearse were more true than funny. To cap it all the sound was so bad in our section that we frequently missed parts of the jokes, those that there were. They might get better by the end of the run, but that's not much of a consolation to those of us that paid to see a dress rehearsal for your show.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wonderful Spam Subjects

I love the way that spam filters are forcing spammers to be more and more creative with their subject lines, here are some of my recent favourites.

First we have the euphemism category:

Make your hose's radius great
Classic male 'uppers' Packed and dosed desire
Have a concrete thing in your pants
Settle the warrior in your fly.
ideal for bed-marathons.
Drive her wet and crazy
Getting woody in seconds!
Give your wang bulldozer power!
Greater male volume and power enhancing.
Be her eromaniac
Enjoy night potency
She'll like your eagerness
Set desire to maximum
Exaltation of having your rod ready-for-action again!

Next we have the bonus "hoister" category, I've no idea why this word is so popular, maybe it's an Americanism:

Hoisters for your pork-lever
Male strength hoisters!
Your favorite ardor hoister!

Then we have the slightly bizarre category:

He was free to write on the snow
Your wife in bath on tape - Looking for sales?
Which she was holding up for it
Erase the memories of the defeat
Give her 3 hour rodeo
Unusual Places to Get It On!
What the doctor ordered - How please knocking-out hottie

On to the Ugh! category:

Energy to tear her ham wallet
Be her tight hole's attacker!
Rub her from inside

And finally the Uh? category:

{?} {?} {?}. {?} {?}
Who knows I collect Blaine dolls, Brian wondered, looking at the one seated on his router.

UPDATE: Looks like I'll have to continually update this post, just had these classics through:

Screw her rabbit hole - If your spaceship needs power
Getting tired after one act? You can easily get energy for ten more this night! - Have surprisingly good lovemaking
Lasting success in bedroom - We can't give you charm of Cazanova: But we can give you wood-on of Ron Jeremy!
Flame of your emotions - Superheat for amorous adventures


Your drawbolt will go deeper in - Stimulate necessary growth
What your score? - You'll peck her like crazy

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Lowest Common Denominator

I don't often catch BBC TV news, but when I do I am often struck by pointless on-scene reporting and presenters who almost reconstruct events for you, just in case you can't imagine it from their overly emotional language. I prefer the BBC website as it seems less sensationalist, more impartial and removed, but recently there seems to have been a slow slide to more emotive language and articles. For instance, a recent article on the royal harpist convicted of handling stolen goods described her as "hooked on heroin" and "in the grip of drugs", what's wrong with "addicted"? And today I read a story entitled Who was Arthur McElhill? I didn't know who Arthur McElhill was, so I read the story. Having read the article I have no idea as to why it was written and published on the BBC news site. It's a sensationalist horror story that is reminiscent of those cheap glossy mags that have exclamation marks in their titles and that has no useful conclusion.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

From The Staff Newsletter

The many aims for developing a community of partners include:
  • Unlocking values, strength and capacity
  • Developing a channel for sharing customer challenges in a controlled environment and so delivering innovation and good ideas
  • Working jointly with clients to meet their present and future challenges and needs
I hope that's cleared that up.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hendry Kai Ian Car Sale Scam

If you are a (potential) victim of this scam please email:
Some general rules to live your life by:
  • If it seems to good to be true then it probably is.
  • If it quacks like a scam, swims like a scam and waddles like a scam then it's probably a scam.
  • Even if the deal is reeeeeeeeeeeally good.
  • Especially if the deal is really good.
  • Especially if they are selling a new VW Bora in excellent condition for "4000EUR".
Things that should raise suspicions:
  • A seller does not seem to know which way around their own names should go, for example, Hendry is a surname and Ian is a first name , not vice versa.
  • You google the person, and find a big fucking warning in RED and YELLOW on their homepage warning idiots people like you not to fall for the scam.
  • Complicated stories that involve selling goods internationally, eg, I am on business in KENTUCKY USA and I need the iPhone for my son who is in Lagos Nigera... etc, or, the car is in London but for some reason I am selling it on a German website to German users only. See also below.
  • Random capitalised words, eg: "YOU will ask a friend to come with you to Western Union Office. HE will make a transfer so that HE will be the sender and YOU will be the receiver. YOU will receive the money from Western Union in UK,London"
  • Native English speakers making simple errors, eg: "If you are not agree with this depozit i will not have eny problem, you can come to my when you want i dont have problem but i will not keep the car for you until you are here..Let me explain to you way i want this depozit:" (Ironically there is a distinct lack of capitalisation here, as well as uses of Z and missing As that wouldn't even be acceptable in America.)
Things not to trust on the internet:
  • Images of passports. This does not prove anything apart from the fact that the seller has a picture of a passport. That image may have been doctored, the passport may not be real, or they may have just found a picture of someone else's passport that they rather inadvisedly put on flickr.
  • Western Union. It seems that it is very easy to retrieve money from Western Union that is not meant for you.
UPDATE: If you want to scam the scammers a fake Western Union receipt might be in order.

UPDATE: Apparently Mr. Hendry Kai Ian is now offering a BMZ Z4 Cabrio for €5500. Yes, it's still a scam, no matter how much you wish it wasn't.

UPDATE: And a Jeep Wrangler.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


RudeAs it was Guy Fawkes last week the BBC's latest Your Photos gallery is on the subject of sparkle. As you can see, a number of the entries used sparklers to draw pictures on the camera's sensor. If I'd thought about it I would have sent them this picture that I took at Maddy's party.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I Take It All Back

I have previously sung the praises of O2's broadband support, well I take it back. I assume that when I joined O2 broadband they still had decent customer support as a hang over from Be Unlimited, well now it seems that O2 have managed to bring their broadband technical support in-line with their mobile technical support, ie, non-existent. I've been having major DNS problems for a few weeks and it seemed to be getting worse (dropping out for about a minute at a time, becoming more and more frequent). I had called a few times, waiting up to 10 minutes on hold and eventually emailed them. They promise to respond within 24 hours. Three working days later someone replied, asking me to call them in order to resolve the issue! The thing is that I know that my issue is not isolated, I don't know many people who use O2 broadband, yet at least one of them has the same issue as me. I have tried calling a few times since, but to no avail, I just get a "we are experiencing high call volumes at the moment" message. You would think that they could hire extra staff. I have since added a couple of public DNS servers to my list which has improved matters. To be fair, since I haven't actually managed to get through, I can't really comment on the quality of support you might get if you did get through, though I didn't reckon much to the email response.

UPDATE: After another three working days I got a second reply saying that the agent could not help me as my from address was not registered with the account. So I have been trying to use their broken form to add my email address to the account. I cannot believe how broken it is, it won't let me save the email address because my postal address is not formated correctly, and the type of phone field is mandatory, and each time the form reloads all the data I have entered disappears.

Monday, October 26, 2009

eBay Annoyances

It's been a bit love-hate-hate between me and eBay recently. First eBay managed to set me up with a very nice guy who was very grateful to get a pair of tickets for Daniel Johnston and Laura Marling. He was due to be taking a young lady and had forgotten to get tickets, so he was very pleased to be able to buy a pair from me at face value. Then eBay refused to let me cancel the auction, which was still running, as they have some stupid there must be at least 12 hours remaining to cancel a sale rule. I mean, I didn't have a genuine reason, but what if you were selling a hamster and it died? Or a cigar that got wet? So having gone through the rigmarole of cancelling every single bid by hand, giving the reason as "Item no longer available." and quickly selling them to my girlfriend at £5 I thought that was the end of the matter. But no, this morning I get an arsey email from "flying giraffe" demanding to know why he didn't win the tickets for his £10 bid when they sold for £5, despite the fact that they were at £26 when I cancelled the bids. Here is my reply to him, all the text of his second email is contained within.
> I'm sorry,

Are you really?

> but why have they become unavailable?

They were tragically lost in a terrible tickets-left-in-pocket washing machine accident.

> When you put something up for auction you are
> legally obliged to go through with the sale.

No you are not, there is no contract at that point, otherwise eBay would not let a seller cancel an auction at all. If what you say were true then everybody who cancels an auction would be breaking the law. The only reason eBay stop a seller cancelling an auction 12 hours from the end is that they want to make as much money as possible.
Perhaps I should have just replied "So sue me." Serously, do not email a stranger with some bullshit story about how they've just commited a crime. eBay buyers are quickly becoming my second favourite group of people, just behind pedestrians who jump out in front of me from between (not parked) cars.
Meanwhile my other eBay saga continues.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Blogger Bugs

I've been wishing I could report bugs to/about Maybe if I post on it someone might hear me.

1) Search

Search on blogger is worse than Kind of ironic as google owns (and runs?) it.
i) It does not do partial matches, for example, my post entitled Mixing It Up does not get returned on a search for mix.
ii) Text searches do not match on labels, for example, the post mentioned above is labeled cycling but a search for cycling does not return that post.
iii) Text within the post not matched, eg, the above post contains the word "mixer" in the text, but is still not returned on a search for mixer.
iv) No search on Neil's Meandering Mind blog returns any results. At the moment the fist story is entitled Twitter Vs Facebook, a search for Twitter returns no results. Google hasn't indexed Neil's blog, maybe that's why..?

UPDATE: They seem to have fixed iii). Or at least that particular example works now.


v) While editing your blog, if you click Edit Posts, and then do a free text search, the label links on the left do not work. You have to empty the search box and click search and then the label links will work again.

2) Formatting

Formating seems to get lost if I use the Pencil logoed "Edit Post" link on a post rather than going -> Edit Posts -> Edit post

UPDATE: I think this is because takes me to while the post link takes me to

3) No WWW

For a while did not work for me, I had to use www. This seems to have been fixed now. (See no-www and extra www.)


4) Comment spam detection does not work.

I don't get many comments on my blog, but roughly half of the comments that I do get are spam. As far as I can see no comment has ever automatically been marked as spam. As with search, google does spam detection so well for gmail, why can't they do it for blogger?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Christian Response

Last Friday the Register drew my attention to a post by Australian Christians regarding their find of a "witch's sacrificial stone" covered in "blood". I left a comment pointing out that there is no such thing as witches and that the "blood" was far more likely to be paint or rust, being as it was, on some sort of construction site. Today I received this reply by email, in red ironically enough. (I would like to point out that I am not Australian.)
May the one true living God bless you Jamie and all Australians with His Saving Truth and Everlasting Love! (John 3:16-21)

We at Catch the Fire Ministries will keep praying for you Jamie and all Australians to believe the Bible (Word of God) as the mighty Voice from Heaven that calls, “I died on the cross for you and rose from the dead to save you from eternal death, hell and destruction! Repent of your unbelief / doubt and surrender your life (past, present and future) to Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord before it is too late!”

Time is running out as we will soon stand before Him face to face as our Final Judge! (Revelation 20:11-15)

Say, 'Yes to Jesus, Yes to Heaven Forever!'

Say, 'No to Jesus, Yes to Hell Forever!'

Make the Right Choice Australia, Your Eternal Future Depends On It!
I was slightly economical with the truth in my reply.
I am a Christian, and I do believe the word of the bible, but the bible says nothing about the existence of witches, nor that red stuff is always blood. You wrote to me in red, am I to assume that this is blood too?


ps, I am praying for your misguided souls.
Jesus is coming back very soon as the reigning King of kings and LORD of lords! (Revelation 19:11-16)

At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father! (Philippians 2:10-11)

Are you ready Jamie?
I'm ready!


Does Revelation 19:11-16 really capitalise "LORD"?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Low Battery Warning Beep Script For Linux


STATUS=$(cat "$DIR/status")

if [ "$STATUS" == "Discharging" ]
        for PREFIX in "charge" "energy"
                if [ -f "$DIR/${PREFIX}_now" ] && [ -f "$DIR/${PREFIX}_full" ]
                        REMAIN=$(cat "$DIR/${PREFIX}_now")
                        FULL=$(cat "$DIR/${PREFIX}_full")
                        PRCT=$((100 * $REMAIN / $FULL))
                        if [ $PRCT -le 10 ]
                                mplayer /usr/share/sounds/bark.ogg
Put that in your crontab and smoke it.

UPDATE: There is/may be a warn file in $DIR which you can use instead of 10/

Suspicious eBayer Minds

I recently sold some small bits and pieces on eBay. I wasn't really interested in the small amount of money that they'd generate, I just didn't want to consign them to landfill. The winning bidder of an incomplete set of bicycle skewers, which sold for £3, eventually emailed me to say that he had a cheque for me, "printed by Nationwide". I replied that he could donate the money to charity and I'd send him the skewers. to quote my new favourite blog ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!
Dear Jamie Kitson

Thank you for your e-mail. Whilst I have every intention of paying you, I shall now also donate to charity by purchasing one of those magazines from poor young people on the 'high' street.

The cheque will have to go back to the branch which issued it, for shredding and, hopefully, a credit. There can't be that many people with your name where you live and you must have a bank account so I am curious about your response, HOWEVER, I AM keenly aware this is none of my business. If it is a question of security though, as with some eBayers, it would make sense not to use your own name. I am myself concerned about security, which helps to explain my unfortunate delay as I was reluctant to link savings account and card, (which I have done some time ago). Also I am learning while buying, not having been a seller yet. I am wondering whether to have a different ID for sales. Ebay suggests using different eBay and e-mail IDs for security reasons but I think that anyone who encounters Virgin/NTL and tries to do anything with it's e-mail system, is surely doomed. Well I'm sure that's quite enough from me for now, too much probably, so I will leave you with my profuse apologies and regrets.

As soon as I get Paypal I will certainly reimburse you.

Yours Sincerely Andrew
Hi Andrew,

you may have received the skewers by now, if so you will see that I've put a return address on the envelope. I am not overly paranoid about security and my address is publicly available, it just didn't seem worth the effort of going to the bank, queuing, etc. for £3*. In fact I have a two year old cheque from TFL for £2 that I haven't paid in yet.

I don't think your bank will need to credit you as, as I understand it, the money for cheques does not leave your account until the cheque is paid in to the receiver's account.

Cheers, Jamie
* Let's say I get paid £10 an hour, that would make £3 of my time about twenty minutes, roughly the time all that would take.

UPDATE: Oh dear God, will this ever end? I wish I'd just thrown the damn things away.
So far all that has arrived is a "TO PAY" card. It may be nothing to do with you but I have to wonder.
Did you get the packet weighed and proper postage paid? Thanks and sorry to bother you with such a trifling matter but I remembered you saying you don't like going to the bank for small things and it occurred to me that the same could apply to the Post Office. Again I apologise if I'm imagining something absurd and suspect you unfairly, just that you said you posted the set remains weeks ago!
I'm beginning to think that it's me that's being ridiculed.
Dear Jamie

The excess was only 37 pence, plus a fee of £1 and I had to pay with stamps on the card, (at the Post Office which I had to visit anyway). So I shall be refunding you, if indeed it is the skewers and that is just a guess on my part, bearing in mind that I am expecting 15-20 items or so. If it's not the skewers then I shall write you a grovelling apology! Shall let you know when item arrives.



Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Barclays' Definition of an Upheld Complaint

A little while ago I made a complaint on the Barclays website about my Barclays Debit Card vs Oyster woes. I wasn't really expecting a response having never had one before, but not only did I get one response, I got two! Admittedly the first was to say that they had promised to keep my updated, and so they were keeping my updated by letting me know that they hadn't finished investigating yet. But the second letter (banks haven't discovered email yet) was the really exciting one. They admitted that some customers had had problems, and went on to say that they didn't have a solution for the problem yet* and then, and this is the best bit, they went on to say that my complaint has not been upheld. Let me just recap, they admit that they have a problem, they admit that they don't have a fix, and yet my complaint is not upheld. One wonders under what circumstances Barclays would uphold a complaint.

* In the meantime I have been to my local branch to request a non-Wave and Pay debit card as suggested. A very helpful chap called the debit card issuing department who said it wouldn't be possible, but after three days he called me back to say that they'd found one down the back of the sofa and that it would be on its way to me soon. I have yet to receive it.

UPDATE: I got on a bus on Friday and did my usual trick of waving my wallet around at the Oyster reader and the bus driver actually asked me if I had a Barclays' card, so it's obviously quite a common issue.

Monday, September 07, 2009 Spam

I got these two spammy looking messages this morning informing me that "Fioleau" waned to show me a picture. I marked them as spam and clicked the unsubscribe link. But then a friend of mine said he'd received the same thing and that we did actually know a "Fioleau". Curiosity getting the better of me, I foolishly clicked on the "YES" link. Of course, I had to sign up, so I did*. The hilarious, amazing, funny, life-changing image is shown, top-right. Once I had got up off the floor from ROFLMAO I looked for the "delete my account" button. There must be one somewhere, surely? No. In fact I can't even see a "logout" link.

Did "Fioleau" really want to ruin my day with that image, or did WeGame go through her address book spamming every address she had?

* I signed up using a different address to the one that I was spammed on, and at no point did WeGame check I had access to the address I used.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Best Sausage Roll Ever (London, St. Paul's)

Grace Sausage RollAs well as doing fantastic coffees and quality sundry lunch items, Grace on Creed Ginger Pig Sausage RollsLane, near St Paul's (in grey here in its previous guise as Tantric Tonic) also do the most perfect sausage rolls (crappy picture, left). Light, crisp and flaky pastry surrounds just the right amount of coarsely ground pork and a whiff of mustard. I'm really not into Ginger Pig sausage rolls (right) where the sausage is the size and shape of your fist.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

No Guarantee

About 18 months ago I bought a refurbished Dell from Gasteiner Technologies which came with their standard one year warranty. Last Friday it died and will no longer power on. I had heard a rumour that under EU rules retailers must always give a 2 year guarantee with substantially expensive/electrical goods. It seems that this is not quite true, but that is because the British Sale of Goods Act meets and exceeds EU law. The SoGA says that an item must last a reasonable length of time. All this left me wondering if standard guarantees/warranties have any point at all? Let alone expensive "extended" warranties.

Usually I would be up for the fight, but I am not really sure that I want to peruse this, I almost accept that I took a risk in buying a refurbished laptop and this time I lost. Having said that they did sell me a laptop for £500 which has broken after 18 months, and that's not really acceptable.

Incidentally I was surprised to find that Dell didn't have one standard price for replacing the motherboard of my laptop. I was originally quoted €400, but when I pointed out I could buy a new laptop for that I was told that I could get a discount, the best deal I was eventually offered was £100 if I bought a three year warranty for £160, which if I was then guaranteed to have a working laptop for three years would have been quite a good deal, if I wasn't so against extended warranties and giving Dell any of my money. I've since been told that buying a laptop from Dell is similar, it's always best to ring them and see what's the best deal you can get from them. The representative also used the rather odd analogy of not being able to take out a warranty on a dead person. After I questioned her on what she'd said she swore that she'd said "insurance", though it still seems a bit of an odd thing to choose to say.

UPDATE: The BBC has a good article on this.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Mess That Is The Mobile Web on Iris BrowserI wanted to check an ebay auction on my mobile the other day. I typed in as the m subdomain seems to be the common mobile web shortcut (see and But that didn't work. Next I tried (I think I might have googled for that) which linked to which in turn promised me that the address I was after was But that didn't work either! Eventually, I think through googling some more I found it at eBay isn't the first company to use the wap subdomain, see also I think the most rediculous mobile subdomain I know of is nationalrail's Kai is against the .mobi TLD as he believes that it will fragment the web, but as all these subdomains suggest, we do need separate pages for devices with small screens, as good as CSS is, it cannot do it alone, and once you admit that we need different pages for mobiles wouldn't it be easier if we all knew that we could use the .mobi address? I really do prefer the m subdomain over all of this though, purely because it's fewer letters to type on a tiny keyboard. Incidentally is pretty good and forwards to

UPDATE: Another thing that annoys me is browser detection. If I go to a mobile site I do not want to be redirected to the desktop site just because the site in question doesn't know about the browser I am using.

UPDATE: I emailed ebay about their issue, and surprisingly they responded. In their email was this gem: "We do have carrier-specific mobile sites." WTF?

Friday, July 31, 2009

Technology Bites

I received what looked like a piece of spam from one of my contacts today. I called him to check and sure enough he hadn't sent it. It seems that spammers are more and more turning to cracking peoples' accounts in order to get spam through filters.

Various issues with the EasyJet website:
  • Insurance is still added automatically, despite orders by EU regulators to do otherwise.
  • Once you have provisionally chosen your flights, you don't seem to be able to change them without actually "removing" them first.
  • Baggage costs £8 per journey leg, but booking a return journey you are only given the option for the entire return journey at £16. As far as I can see the only way to get individual £8 option is to book the two legs separately, and then you have to pay the card fee twice, which is £3 for debit cards and £6 for credit cards, so you may not be much better off anyway.
Booking train tickets is also a bloody nightmare, the train companies seem intent on hiding return fares and promoting single fares. Yes two singles can be cheaper, but you often have to be very flexible with your times otherwise you can end up spending twice what a return would have cost. Bring on renationalisation I say.

My HTC Touch HD is finally back from the repair centre working!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Fourth Time Lucky

HTC Repairs SUCKMy HTC Touch HD is back at the repair shop. For the fourth time. Since HTC fixed the scratches, after much persuading, that were picked up from the first time that I sent it back the screen had been going blank intermittently. I really don't think much of the quality of their repairs.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Flashing The HTC Touch HD

Because I keep forgetting:
  1. Start Win7 in "allow unsigned drivers" mode.
  2. Turn off USB connectivity in ActiveSync.
  3. Start the phone in bootloader mode by holding down vol down while booting.
  4. Update the drivers to those here. Note the 64 bit option. If "the device cannot start" unplug the phone and plug it back in again.
  5. Run USPL.
  6. Flash ROM. (Serial HT847KD00009.)
I guess steps 2. and 4. may be unnecessary once you've done it once.

  1. Copy BLACIMG.NBH into the root dir of your Storage Card.
  2. Turn off your device by using the Power Button.
  3. Remove storage card.
  4. Go to Boot loader mode. (Push and hold Vol. Down + press Power button.)
  5. Insert storage card when you see USB displaying on screen.
  6. Disallow USB connections in ActiveSync.
  7. Disallow On-Access virus scanning.
  8. Run USPL 2.5.
  9. Phone should restart and ask you to press the power button to start flashing the ROM.
  10. Apparently you should always do a hard reset after an update.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

More Service From HTC

Finally getting to the bottom of my HTC service woes. Actually spoke to the repair centre today, who claim that there is no way that my phone could have been scratched while in their care. When I told them that after the first repair it had come back without a screen protector it sounded like I was making it up :( They also said that I didn't fill in the check sheet the first time to say there were no scratches, well that was because there were no scratches. Also really annoyed that it's taken days of effort from me to actually get this information out of them.

Monday, June 15, 2009

HTC Service: No Longer Funny

So I sent my HTC Touch HD back for the third time a week ago. Usually by this point I have had about three emails giving me some useless, meaningless, but I now realise still reassuring, information. I called today as I am going on holiday tomorrow, and I don't really want it delivered while I am away. The first call made me wonder if they had just lost it. The phone that is. The guy said that it had been delivered but that "delivery had failed" and then asked if it had been collected. Well yes. He didn't call me back. The second person tried to call the repair centre while I was on hold. When they didn't pick up he explained that they might be on a break, and would I like him to ask their secretary to get them back in from their break. Not especially. He also couldn't see any record of my request to not have the phone delivered until I'm back from holiday. He didn't call back either. At 5 I called back again, and finally was told that my phone was "on hold" due to the fact that I hadn't replied to the email that I hadn't received. Apparently I needed to answer some question, which she couldn't tell me, but she would email the repair centre, which by this time was closed, who would email me the question again.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Recommended Listening

This year's ever excellent Reith Lectures began this morning on Radio 4. The first lecture, Markets and Morals is especially relevant with the news today of Shell capitulating days before they go to court over the executions of Nigerian activists 13 years ago.

Favourite quote from the lecture: "We need to recognise that there are some things that money can’t buy and other things that money can buy but shouldn’t."

Friday, June 05, 2009

Scratches Without The Service

I spoke too soon. Once I'd received my phone back for the second time, still scratched, I wasn't so happy with HTC's service. I am even less happy with their service a day later when neither of the two people who've promised to get back to me have done so, and I still haven't received any emails regarding the next pick up.

Apparently they have two problems. My phone is regarded as still in transit, despite the fact that I have it in my pocket, this means that they cannot open a new support call. Also they have just discovered that they cannot make outgoing calls, to people such as the transit company/department to ask about why my phone is reported as still in transit. Presumably this is also why no one has called me back, though why they didn't know they wouldn't be able to call me back is anyone's guess.

Incidentally I have found that the best way to get through to someone quickly who will be able to hear and understand you is to dial 01279 206906 and then choose technical support, option 2.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Something That Sucks About

I really like the BBC News site, but there is one aspect that completely sucks: search. First you type in your search terms, so far so good. Now press enter or click "Search". What's this? A random list of results from the entire BBC site. But I was on the news site, blatantly I want news results only. So click on "News & Sport". Now I want the most recent result, so I click "Order by date". But I'm not getting the video I want. Oh, videos are separate, of course, on the right. So I click "more like this" under the videos, but it's not there. Now how do I get back to the normal results? How many clicks is that? I don't know, I've lost the will to live.

Eventually I gave up and found the video I was after on YouTube. Albeit in worse quality.

Another thing they could do would be to provide links to new stories from previous articles on the same story, currently they only do it in the opposite direction.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

What I Learnt Today

When you get spam messages from your friends on Yahoo! Messenger! and the like about pills to reduce the size of your measurement in one direction or increase it in another, it is apparently not because that friend has a virus on their computer as I mistakenly assumed, it is apparently because their password has been compromised and there is some presumably automated process out there sending messages remotely. So my replies of "you have a virus" were wasted, you actually need to email your friends and tell them to change their passwords. So if you happen to be reading this Sonia, Diana, Morgan or Raquel, change your passwords.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Service With A Scratch

About a month ago my phone (an HTC Touch HD) started to behave oddly, often not having reception in residential areas and not being able to make calls or send text messages even when it did. Being used to fluffy (l)user support calls I gave it some time and eventually compared the reception of my phone to my friend's HTC Diamond Pro. The reception of my phone was undoubtedly, markedly worse so I started the returns' procedure, which apart from an amusing email ("The quotation has been resolved... Don’t worry, we’ll keep you fully informed.") and phone call ("What does 'The quotation has been resolved' mean?... This line's very bad... isn't that a bit of a problem for a call centre?") went smoothly and my phone was picked up and fixed under warranty, without question (despite the fact I'd bought it on eBay) in 5 working days. However the screen has been scratched and the unlock code wouldn't work as they'd changed the main board and hence the IMEI number. So I called them up again (I have to say that it really is a lot more pleasant and less stressful to speak to a native English speaker) and again they agreed to take it back to fix it without question, they will even collect it this very afternoon. So I am left with an overall sense that HTC offers good service, despite the fact that if their phone hadn't broken in the first place, and then hadn't been scratched while being repaired I wouldn't have had to go through their returns procedure, no matter how quick and pain-free it is.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bear Grylls Is A Fucking Idiot

I've only seen two bits of Bear Grylls' TV program. Is it just coincidence that both of them have brought me to the conclusion that he's a fucking idiot? The first time I just walked in in time to see him crawling breathlessly a few metres through a mangrove swamp in Panama. He finds some sort of mussel type thing, stabs it with his knife, tastes it, spits it out with a horrified "UGH" and throws the poor wasted thing away. He then climbs a tree for no apparent reason, takes his shirt off for no apparent reason, other than perhaps to give the lucky viewers a chance to see his torso and does a frivolous back flip off the tree back into the swamp. He then struggles another couple of meters onto a sandbank, spies a crab which he again stabs with his knife. He lets us know that the crab is well and truly dead, despite the fact that it is still desperately trying to flee and you can almost hear it screaming in pain and frustration. He then rips off one of its claws, sucks out some of the flesh, again finds that the taste is not to his liking and throws the wretched creature away.

The second clip that I saw was picked for me by the annoying guy with stupid hair from the Saturday Night Project. In it Bear Grylls is demonstrating that you can drink the freshly squeezed juice of elephant dung. Nobody needs to know that, let alone have it demonstrated. He's just showing off.

Now it may seem that all survival shows are this pointless and frivolous, but somehow people such as Ray Mears just don't seem that bad. Ray Mears is so much calmer and more thoughtful, and although I can't really see myself getting stranded in the Rockies and needing his camping skills, he does demonstrate things that you could see yourself doing. I cannot see myself trying still warm crab, nor elephant shit juice. Apparently I am not the only one to make this comparison.

If you're interested, the first clip I mentioned is here and here, but you really don't need to find a specific bit of his program it's all ridiculous, just before these clips he covers himself in mud.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that my parents seem to think that Bear Grylls is some sort of modern day missionary, though I am not sure where they got that idea from.

UPDATE: Apparently he has helped some people.

UPDATE: Thanks to Anonymous below for pointing out:

These hilarious videos (you need to watch to the end):

And this video showing that Bear Grylls continuously lies about being the youngest Briton to climb Mount Everest.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The World Is Not Barclay's Oyster

Does Not Play Well With OysterI started using a new wallet recently. And my oyster card stopped working. My being a cyclist combined with the rush usually associated with public transport I didn't have a lot of opportunity to investigate. It was a bit confusing though as it is just a standard leather wallet. It recently occurred to me however that it could be down, not to my wallet, but my new Barclay's debit card, which has these wavy lines on. I called Barclay's only to be told, rather condescendingly that the two cards will not interfere. So I off I trotted to Blackfriar's station, had a little chat with the guard and did some testing. Sure enough, the Oyster card was fine when my Barclay debit card was not in my wallet. The card reader even stated "Too many oyster cards" when my debit card was present. So I called Barclay's again to request a new card sans "wave and pay" technology. No deal. But I was told that I needed to call Oyster and give them my card details which would sort the problem. Needless to say I was not convinced. I called Oyster, but unfortunately I don't seem to have the right sort of card, you have to have a OnePay card to be able to pay for Oyster directly from your Barclay card. I am now bored of talking to people in call centres, do I really have to move banks to fix my Oyster card?

UPDATE: My third phone call to Barclay's got the answer I was after: Apparently I can request to "downgrade" my debit card, but only at my local branch.

See also my further update.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Welcome To The 21st Century

I called my GP surgery today to ask for a repeat prescription. I was staggered by their response: email the request.

If it's surprising to see the NHS finally reach the computer age (I can also view my blood results on-line, though there seems to be no cohesion between departments, the website I use is for renal patients only) you would hope that a major telecoms company has their shit together, unfortunately this is often not the case. When I signed up with O2 broadband I had to use a different username and account to my mobile account. After a little while I was given the option to link the two accounts, but this does not mean that the two are integrated, just that I only have one username, I have to chose to switch between the accounts once I am logged in, despite the fact that I have a "My Broadband" link while using my mobile account.

Paypal are still sending out emails that look phishy, showing a link that looks like, but which actually links to

I've had increasing levels of spam in my gmail inbox in the last couple of weeks, I can't remember the last time I saw a piece of spam before then. It started with one or two a day but rose to about 7 on Sunday. I haven't had any today or yesterday so hopefully that's the end of it.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

rss2email Update

Setting up rss2email on your own server and then adding functionality to allow anonymous users to subscribe to your blog is a bit long-winded and would feel a lot like reinventing the wheel, so let me introduce you to FeedBurner. To be honest I am not sure what the point of FeedBurner is, but hidden away in its functionality (Feed -> Publicise -> Email Subscriptions) is the facility to offer users the ability to subscribe to your blog updates by email. See the Subscribe by Email link on the left for example. This is still a little bit of a long-winded option as the setup isn't the most straight forward and there seems to be a lot of functionality on offer if all you're interested in is updates by email.

Thursday, April 30, 2009 Scam Update

Happened to find this brief, interesting description of what I believe to be the same computer support phone scam that was attempted on my mother a few weeks ago.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Iris Browser / The Reason I Sold My iPhone

When I first started this post, nearly a month ago, I wrote that Iris browser from Torch Mobile still feels a bit like a beta product. But development of Iris is proceeding at such a pace that this is no longer the case. Iris has always felt like a solid browser, ever since I first started using it at version 1.0, unlike iPhone's Safari which regularly crashed on me. Version 1.0 was all of two months ago now and since then virtually all of the issues that have niggled at me have been addressed (the one major one remaining being copy and paste* within the browser).

Iris BrowserWhen you first start using Iris you may find that the specifics of the user interface odd and even annoying, as my first email to the ever responsive Iris feedback address attests. However after you've been using it for a while these unique traits start to make sense. Clicking and holding to activate a link really helps to avoid accidental clicks, the resulting animation on the link itself, which I can only describe as a visual "boing", serves as Iris's own haptic feedback and the animation on moving/opening/closing tabs serves to inform you about what's going on, and I am assured that pages load while this is going on. Another great feature of Iris is the little inset scrolling window, which not only serves to show you where you are on the page but is also a very quick way to scroll around the page. It's unbelievably quick.

One of the best things about Iris is (was) that you get the iPhone gmail interface. Unfortuntely google, in their infinite wisdom, recently "improved" their User-Agent detection code which foobared Iris in that you no longer got the nice iPhone interface, but instead got the horrible (on such a large screen as the Touch HD) mobile interface. I noticed that this link from google calendar will still give you the iPhone interface (on any browser).

Having said all that, Iris isn't quite perfect. The click and hold isn't quite consistent, I think that some javascript actions happen immediately while others need the hold. Drop down lists appear so small as to be almost unusable, as previously mentioned there's no copy and paste within the browser and some of the user interface still isn't quite brilliant, see history and bookmarks and Opera does some stuff better, such as their auto-full screening and easy access tabs, back and home buttons.

A friend asked me to give a quick mention to W3's WCTMB test with its new canvas test, on which Iris scores 11 out of 16.

* You can actually copy a single word or whole link, and paste, by tapping and holding in the usual context menu way.

Monday, April 27, 2009

rssfwd Is Dead, Long Live rss2email

I really like having the few RSS feeds that I follow forwarded to my inbox. For a long time I relied on the ever increasingly flaky rssfwd. Since rssfwd finally died a death I have been looking out for a similar service, and eventually came across rss2email, which is now happily installed and running on my server (so easy to setup!). One friend helpfully described rss2email as "old news", so this blog post goes out to anyone else who might have missed it.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Mixing It Up

Apologies for the long and tedious post, believe it or not it was requested.

So back in August the company I work for was purchased by another company. The list of benefits we were given included the Cycle2Work scheme.

ChargeIf you're unaware of the Cycle2Work scheme, it's a government initiative offering tax breaks on the purchase of bikes. It's effectively a loan from your employer which you pay back over 12 months from your pay packet before tax, and you don't pay VAT, which means that you save roughly 40% on a new bike. The down side is that after the 12 months you don't officially own the bike. I believe the normal practice is that you then buy the bike for 6% of the original value of the bike.

EvansNow the Cycle2Work scheme shouldn't really be counted as a benefit as it's open to all employees, no matter who you work for, but I imagine that putting my head through a brick wall would have been easier than trying to get it through my previous company's admin staff. Then there was the news that the new company chose to only offer the Cycle2Work scheme through Evans, certainly not the cheapest cycle shop in the world, and something that shouldn't be necessary. Evans also do the scheme a little differently, your company pay them direct and then Evans send you a voucher for the price of the bike. Companies should usually directly give you a cheque for the value of the bike.

The Ghetto of Nunney CastleSo in September I got copies of the forms I needed to fill in and went off to Evans to choose a bike (so I'd know how much to apply for). Originally I had in mind a single speed/fixed light-weight hybrid, and the Charge Plug immediately caught my eye. Once I'd decided that single speed/fixed were pretentious I had a look at the Tap but decided that with the saving I was going to make I might as well go with the more expensive £800 Mixer. Evans didn't have any Mixers in at the time, but I figured that the Cycle2Work voucher would a little while anyway.

ChargeAfter a month or two I went to HR to enquire about the non-appearing voucher, unfortunately English isn't her first language so it took me three attempts over several weeks or months before I understood that the forms would not be processed until we had signed our new contracts in December. Meanwhile the Mixer was still on order so I wasn't too worried.

Shimano ChargeThe voucher arrived some time in February, by which time the Evans' website had started a cycle of naming a date when the Mixer would be available then going back to "contact us for details". Eventually I called Evans who said they couldn't tell me any more than the website, but amazingly gave me the phone number of their supplier when asked. The supplier was very helpful, telling me that the problem was a lack of the Shimano Alfine rear hubs, but Evans should be getting two Charge Mixers in the following week. I called Evans and practically begged to have one of the two and my wish was granted. Unfortunately by this time Evans had put the price of the bike up to £900 and I forgot to see if they'd do a price match as some people were doing it for considerably less.

So was it worth the wait? I suppose so. It's a bit heavy, especially at the back and the gearing could be a bit higher (I usually start in 4th or 5th and regularly get up to top gear, 8th), but the Alfine hub is apparently much superior to the Tap's Nexus. The disks are pretty nice too, my first.

After having a look at all the stickers on the bike I am a bit confused as to who actually makes it. I would have thought Charge make the bike, Evans sell the bike, but it doesn't look that simple. There's the Hot Wheels sticker, who are apparently distributors. Then there is Infinity who I think make the frame. Alex Rims and Continental tyres take care of the wheels. Shimano of course do the gears and breaks. Then there is the Ghetto of Nunney Castle, who I think might test the bike.

UPDATE: I finally got around to weighing my bike, on bathroom scales, so it's not that accurate, but the Charge Mixer weighs about 14kg.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Literal Apology

For literally years I have been internally mocking people who use "literally" with sayings that aren't literally true, eg, "my heart literally broke". Well now I am offering an external apology as apparently it's ok to use "literally" as an idiom intensifier, as long as you are careful of "unintentionally bizarre or humorous effects." According to Chambers. Scam

My mum had a call the other day from someone claiming to know that her computer was slow and/or had a virus. By unfortunate coincidence when she turned on her computer the Microsoft Windows Genuine Advantage popup popped up, making her think there might be something in the call. Fortunately she was genuinely busy, asked them to call back and called me. My first thought was who would have her number? Certainly not Microsoft. Possibly her ISP, who, unless they were being extremely vigilant, would be very unlikely to call her about computer problems. After a bit of googling I decided it was probably this scam. Today they called back, and sure enough mentioned the website/company that Staffordshire trading standards warned against,

Also see my update.

UPDATE: Several comments on this post claim that SupportOnClick is genuine, it's not, and my mother is still receiving calls from them despite the fact that there is nothing wrong with her computer and she has asked them not to call her. I am now going to close comments on this post, but if anyone from SupportOnClick would like to contact me, or sue me, I would welcome their comments, and an explanation as to why my mother is still being harassed.

There is now a series of videos on YouTube chronicling one of these calls. It's pretty boring to be honest, it starts to get interesting with the third video.

UPDATE March 2010: My girlfriend's dad has now also had this happen to him, he was instructed to install TeamViewer and told he could call them back on 02033185274.

UPDATE: This has now reached BBC News. And I missed this original story from the register.

You Learn Something New Every Day

I think I must have been off school the day we did the beginner's Unix class. I noticed some weirdness in my apache error logs today, even weirder, the user was apparently using my own external IP address. After a bit of investigation I noticed that w3m was running on my server, on pts/5, which according to who I was on using bash. I first had to look up tty and pts. Ok, got that. Now switch screens and find pts/5, but w3m doesn't seem to be running. A helpful colleague asked if I'd tried fg, which I'd never even heard of. Turns out you can send processes to the background using ctrl-z* and bring them back with fg, would you believe it? Guess that's how people survive without screen.

* I had wondered sometimes what happened to processes went when I hit ctrl-z accidentally, doh.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


As previously mentioned I bought my sister an eeePC last September, and within a couple of months the keyboard and trackpad started to fail. By December the machine was unusable and I started the returns procedure. As I said, the beginning was a bit of a challenge, but as they say, start as you mean to continue. Twice in February I rang to request the promised UPS weighbill, then when I called in March I was told that the procedure had changed and that I would receive a text message. Needless to say that didn't arrive either. The next time I rang the representative said she'd just book the collection herself for the following Monday. She also said that packing the eeePC wasn't essential as the driver would have a box. Well the driver did turn up, unfortunately sans box, which was more than a little annoying as the eeePC had been left with someone who had nothing to do with the situation who then had to run around the house looking for something to put it in. Amazingly it was back three days later, unamazingly not completely fixed :(

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Sweet SA

My first impressions of South Africa might make me sound like a bit of an idiot, but so be it.

For some reason I really wasn't expecting the poverty, I guess I was thinking I was coming to a first world/developed nation, but the disparity in wealth seems to be on a par with Brazil or Colombia.

In India the poor people are really fucking poor, but the rich people don't appear that rich. In Brazil and Colombia and now South Africa (specifically Rio, Cartajena and Cape Town) what is shocking is the disparity between the rich and the poor, kids without shoes walking between BMWs and Mercedes.

Of course what I was expecting was racial disparity. I was wondering whether I would find mostly whites being served by mostly blacks. For the first couple of days that's what I got, but then Kai and I went to a comedy night. The audience was about 50/50 and the large majority of the comedy revolved around race, which really surprised me. The funny thing was (haha) that the most racial comedy came from a British woman.

People seem a lot more open and honest when it comes to race here, it always seems a bit of a taboo back in the UK. And "coloured" is an acceptable term to describe people of mixed race. Also Afrikaanas aren't all as bad as the films make out :)

There are a couple of really depressing things about South Africa: politics (and corruption) and HIV/AIDS. Corruption seems endemic at all levels, we were advised that the police are bribable with practically anything you might have with you, a create of Red Bull was a real life example given, and while we were over there there were two major corruption news stories in just three weeks. One was the case of Schabir Shaik, a close friend of president-to-be, Zuma's, who having been sentenced to 15 years on corruption charges mysteriously contracted terminal high blood pressure and has not spent a day in prison. The other major corruption news story was the disbanding of the corruption fighting police force, the Scorpions, apparently for being far too effective. There are a lot of people hoping that the ANC don't receive 66% of the vote at the approaching election as it would enable them to alter the constitution to prevent Zuma from being prosecuted. Politics and HIV/AIDS go hand in hand as Zuma's rape case unfortunately demonstrates. Zuma was acquitted of rape, but what went uncontested was that he knowingly had unprotected sexual intercourse with a women he knew to be HIV positive, saying that he showered afterwards to "cut the risk of contracting HIV". At the time he was the leader of the National AIDS Council. As for HIV/AIDS itself, the figures speak for themselves. Some townships have infection levels as high as 70%.

Since writing this it seems that the corruption charges against Zuma are being miraculously dropped.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


For a long time now I have been wondering why I can't login to my Nationwide account in linux. There's no error message, I am just returned to the login page, which isn't very helpful. This evening I decided to try a fresh firefox install. So I started firefox with -ProfileManager and created a new profile. And I could login. I don't have a lot of plugins installed, in fact the only one I could think might have any effect modifies the referer, I usually have it set to not embed the referer. It turns out the Nationwide site needs the referer. So there you go if you've been wondering about it too.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Unintelligent Design

You hear some daft ideas for cleaning up the web, but the Mormons are really taking the biscuit: wants all adult material banned from Port 80 ... and ... also suggests that “ISPs could simply block all IP addresses originating from a non-compliant country”.

One wonders what their definition of "simply" is.

Meanwhile our (UK) government continues its march towards making certain thoughts illegal:

Friday, February 20, 2009

Just Say No

Why can't people just say no? It's fine, sometimes the answer is "no", I understand, sometimes it's not possible, or it really is more than your job's worth, but please don't waste 15 minutes of my precious time trying to placate me. Just say no!

Case 1, Novotel Cardiff: When I complained that the internet charge was not clearly displayed on the website and requested a refund the slimy manager came out to see me, asked me if I'd like a drink and asked me to sit with him. He spent 15 minutes telling me in various ways that he would not waive the charge, nor refund me. The receptionist could have told me that!

Daily DoseCase 2, Medical Centre London: Having been prescribed 5 x 5mg tablets on the previous occasion, despite requesting 25mg tablets, I now requested a bottle of 100 5mg tablets (rather than the annoying individually sealed packs of 14). Unfortunately I was given a prescription for 25mg tablets, despite being on a daily dose of 20mg. Now the receptionist could have said "Sorry, only the doctor can alter your prescription." But no, not when she can waste 15 minutes of my time!

Case 3, Chemist's London: I took the prescription to the chemist anyway, hoping they might be out of 25mg tablets. Unfortunately not. Yet again I was treated to a 15 minute ear bashing and ended up leaving the shop while the woman was still talking at me.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I Don't Know Much About Theatre...

I wish that I could write an exciting, witty and accurate review of Shun-kin, but as they say, having a blog does not make you a journalist. Suffice it to say that it's excellent. It's on for another week at the Barican, tickets are available. Go and see it. Your only excuse not to would be a phobia of sub-titles, which at times take your eyes away for too long from this beautiful production, I wished that they could have slowed it down a little, though it's already two hours long. We sat in seats CC13 and 14, which at £16 seemed very good value for money, and the only way in which we found our view "restricted" was that occasionally we missed the image projected onto the back of the stage.

Maybe it's the Japanese culture, or maybe it's my ignorant stereotypes, but there was none of that lovie back-patting that I always imagine synonymous with theatre, the sort of thing you get when Christian Slater stars in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.

If you do go note that the Barbican seems to have strict policy on not allowing late comers into the theatre.

Monday, February 09, 2009

More On 4

I promise this is not going to turn into some Radio 4 fan boy site, but Start The Week on censorship this morning was really interesting, and also touched on the Rushdi fatwa.

What I Heard Tonight

Radio 4's Classic Serial this and last week was the Arab Chronicles of the First Crusade. Well worth a listen, though I think you may have to see if you can find it by foul means, rather than fair as since it was played over two weeks you will only be able to listen to the second part* on Listen Again.

Before the Saturday edition was Archive on 4, which by coincidence I believe was this week about the fatwa issued against Salmon Rushdi, also worth a listen.

* Tell a lie, they're both here for at least the next six days.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Spam Cycle

Got this today:


Clicked on the "Change who can send you invitations and requests" link. Was asked to sign in. Unfortunately I don't have an account (with this email address, I even tried the "I forgot my password" link, to no avail). So how the fuck am I suppose to unsubscribe Microsoft Windows Live?

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Old News

As instructed by the iPhone Dev Team, I held off updating to 2.2 for some considerable time. Having now been given the go ahead I can report what many people must have known for quite some time:
  • The battery life is much improved. I usually have to charge every two days, recently after four days the battery was still reporting about 50%!
  • Responsiveness is somewhat improved. After the upgrade I was very impressed with speed of loading SMS and Maps for example, however it seems to be slowing down again :-/
  • FStream works properly! Meaning that I can actually (and practically) stream BBC radio over 3G, yay!
Having said all that, after spending an hour on a train trying to use FStream I found that 3G reception is frustratingly flaky and the battery life wasn't *that* much improved, when you actually use your phone.

Of course if I had a mobile with an FM radio none of this would be an issue. So that was the excuse I used to buy an HTC Touch HD.

Having now had a chance to do the same train journey again (in double the time, thanks to the snow) I have now discovered that FM reception is as flaky as 3G coverage, and even ends up being more frustrating, because at least the stream just stops, whereas with FM you drift into intermittent static.

HTC Touch HDThe Touch HD was a bit of a disappointment, mainly because it just wasn't that different to the iPhone. The touch screen is also nowhere near as sensitive* (different technologies I believe) and is not even consistent, the edges need more pressure, which means that often the 'a' key does not register my weak strokes. I really like the predictive text feature, although it's a shame that it doesn't try to correct typos like the iPhone. (I've been told that the iPhone has a predictive text feature, but I can't find it.) Windows Mobile is pretty horrid and the Opera browser is a bit slow and has a nasty habit of continually auto-scrolling to the point which you were on on the previous page while a page is loading and you're trying to scroll. One thing that is definitely better is finding and using contacts, you can always start typing a name and the most recently used will popup. Also the camera seems pretty damn good.

* When I first got the iPhone I actually found this annoying.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Steroid Stomach

English Breakfast PizzaToday I have eaten:

2 poached eggs with hummus and sweet chilli sauce on toasted muffin halves with tea.
3 small cheese and pickle sandwiches with tea.
A banana and apple. With tea.
A toasted ham and cheese croissant with tea.
A hot cross bun with tea.
1.5 large portions of dinner (lasagne with potatoes instead of lasagne) with bread and tea.
A biscuit with tea.
Another hot cross bun. With tea.

Now I am hungry again.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Negative Interest

Seems someone at the BBC reads my blog ;)