Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Singing magnets are bad for laptops


Unfortunately my younger kid dropped a pair of singing magnets (rattlesnake eggs, oids, whatever you prefer to call them) onto his laptop. The hematite toys are very strong magnets so their brief enounter with the laptop, barely a few millimetres above the hard drive, made a mess of the system. Massive data corruption and potentially a head crash puts the future of the drive in doubt. Attempts to rescue the system are failing, but thanks to the Ultimate Boot Disk many of the personal files might be rescued. A re-installation of the OS followed by intensive drive checking is ahead of me.

To archive the data, simply boot the UBD, activate the wifi, change the root password, connect via WinSCP [click title to read more…]

Starting from scratch


Recently I had the rare pleasure of introducing a septuagenarian to the wonders of portable computing. This is not the first time that my elders have challenged me to open the doors of technology, but never before has the challenge been so great. Fortunately, this particular person is greatly motivated to go online, as there is an urgent need to establish regular communications, to attain independence and to find a means of interacting with the world that would not necessitate going out into the harsh winter weather that’s only a few months away.

My new student had not encountered a keyboard since the days when typewriters dominated, many decades ago. In recent weeks, another tutor had established some of the [click title to read more…]

Upgrading – a permanent and universal state


You’ve just finished installing the latest version of your favourite tool, application, amusement or whatever and in the blink of an eye there’s a patch, update, upgrade or something completely new to replace it, and your colleagues are berating you for having something so old and out of date. By the time I come back to this note, all the things I have installed will be ancient. Netbeans 6.9 was released recently, but I’m still using 6.8. My installation of Padre has to updated via CPAN every other day. Tomcat 7 was released two days ago, while I’m still getting used to 6.0.26! One of my Centos installations was automatically upgraded to a new Kernel, and needless to say that the only [click title to read more…]



Thanks to major faults with the broadband service from Eircom (my ISP), I’ve been without Internet connectivity for over a week. Being offline for a week or two is something I do when I’m on vacation, and even then I have the mobile Web, which is useful for finding my way around, checking local events etc. But being offline when I’m working, that’s a different story.

So, why is this such a big issue for me? I still have the mobile Web, and I can still use the ‘Net when I’m in the office and if I have to, I can send/receive emails on my phone. So I’m not really offline, am I?

It’s an issue because I tele-work, often during strange [click title to read more…]

Another year, another nutty idea

Uncategorized []

Two dozen mobile operators announced a WACky idea at this year’s Mobile World Congress: their own collective app store.  A single coherent mobile developers’ Nirvana. Chances of success: nil.

MWC 2010 is over now, so maybe the laughter has subsided. No, I think I can still hear it.

The Wholesale Applications Community (WAC) is an attempt to create an environment where application developers can deliver their wares across a wide variety of mobile platforms. An extension of the Apple App Store perhaps? No. Apple have nothing to do with this. Well at least the other big device people are on board, right? No. You won’t find any RIM Blackberries here. Nor will you see any sign of Nokia. Google are [click title to read more…]