Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Freeview vs. Freesat vs. Freesat from Sky - Channel Smackdown

Comparison: Freeview vs. Freesat v.s Freesat from Sky
I recently made 'the switch', not the switch from analogue to digital TV, but from Sky to Freesat. I thought saving £30 a month for just TV (just TV!, not including phone and broadband) would be a snap.

I already had a dish, I thought that there were more/better channels on Freesat than FreeviewSo I bought the Humax Foxsat 500G (£250), thought I'd get a good box, as I didn't want to feel like I was in the dark ages after using a Sky HD box.

However, I was totally taken by surprise by the rubbish selection of channels on Freesat. I can't believe that after searching around the net and talking to friends and shop assistants, that no one had pointed out that there are major channels missing from the line-up.

The kicker is that I then found out that Freesat from sky with an HD box (although I'm not sure it records) is only £175! Or I can buy the viewing card for a one-off £25 quid and I could use it in my current Sky HD box, although again I'm not sure I can use the PVR features.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Solar Electric Cars

Flickr / Frankh
There's been quite a bit of buzz about electric cars this year. With several manufacturers releasing one. With promises like running costs of 2p per mile, why wouldn't you get excited. Maybe it's the low range, and long charging time. Here's a solution, why not have solar panels on the car (dashboard, roof, bonnet, etc)

The Problem
So several cars are stating a range of about 60 miles on a full charge. Which is great, unless you journey to work is close to 30 miles. If so you've got to start thinking, how many hills are there, how will the cold affect the battery, am I going to have to drive without the radio, heating air-con, etc to save battery power so I can get back home. Not to worry I have the solution.....

Monday, 13 June 2011

[SOLVED] VPN: short read (-1): 'Message too long'

While working from home I've had a really annoying problem for a while now. I've set my VPN to only use VPN for local addresses. So normally surfing and stuff is fine.
But when send an email through the MS Exchange web interface, or browse a development site on the office network, my VPN fails with this message:

nm-pptp-service-7067 warn[decaps_gre:pptp_gre.c:331]: short read (-1): Message too long

It disconnects any SSH sessions using the VPN, and is generally very annoying.
Finally I think I may have got the answer....

Friday, 10 June 2011

World Travel Atlas iPad App

We've just launched a new iPad app at work. Although I didn't get to build it, my team and I did develop the XML feeds powering the information in it.

We really think it's better than the equivalent apps from our competitors, like Lonely Planet and National Geographic.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Geek Avatars

Geek Avatars
I often find that I'm not that comfortable with having a picture of myself as an avatar. But I would like something that represents me as an individual, and a geeky one at that.

So I've made a set of geeky avatars, simply by adding my glasses to the default avatar.
When I get round to it I'll post on how to make geeky avatars, starting with how I made an SVG of my glasses.

Anyway here they are:

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Dancing Geek: Stephen Hall

There's hope for all Geeks, maybe one day we can dance like this man.
here are the videos of Stephen Hall on Britain's Got Talent, such a shame he didn't win. Oh well at least Ronan Park didn't :).

Check out the videos below...

Friday, 3 June 2011

Chav Phonetic Alphabet

Charlie, Hotel, Alpha, Victor! Way too hard.
We need one much easier to remember than the normal phonetic alphabet. Turns out it's quite hard to get a good word for each letter.

Still refining the list:
  1. Asda or ASBO or Argos
  2. Bruv or Benidorm or Burberry or Benefits or Bluewater or Blud or Bianca or Bling
  3. Chav or Coppa or Clinic or Cider or Chatham
  4. Drugs

Reduce The Risk of Human Error on Live Servers

This is another quick and easy tip, this time help to reduce human error when working between live, development and staging environments.

In short the tip is to visually distinguish between live/staging/dev environments; the idea being that you don't accidentally run something on the live environment instead of staging or testing. Assuming you're connecting via SSH, you should be able to configure your console program to use a background image and you should be able to customise your command prompt.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Enabling Alt+f and Alt+b shortcuts in Gnome Terminal

I though each time I find a solution to a problem I have I should blog it to make sure the knowledge is out there for everyone. This is a super simple one to start with.

I've been switching from KDE to Gnome in Ubuntu, but been finding it hard to let go of Konsole.
Then I realised the the Gnome Terminal allows background images the way Konsole used to. Anyway, that's another post, standard terminal shortcuts weren't working, like Alt+f to skip forward a word and Alt+b to go back a word, as they were conflicting with the window menus, as in the image above.

There's a super simple fix.