just another web log

31 Jan 2010 23:56
So I have my new phone but I still have the old number active on the old one.
I had asked o2 to give me a PAC porting code but although customer services could confirm that one had been generated they could not tell me why the system showed it had never been sent.
Requested an new one, wait five working days as per instruction... still no code.
(I got the letter twelve days later, it was dated ten days after it had been requested)
Rang and after some messing about finally got the code read out over the phone.
I now needed to update my new Orange phone with the old number. Searched My Account pages at the Orange web site, nothing, searched the new customer pages, nothing, used the customer services help search engine ... nothing.
In fact there was absolutely no page related to PAC at all, which seems odd. Rang up and was advised that the Porting process only takes place on Wednesdays and that both phones would be taking calls on the old number during the period of 11am to 4pm.
Wait until the next Wednesday. The old o2 phone gets a message from Orange that says it is upgrading, then nothing so I do some more searching.
Finally find a page for businesss users that details the process.
Key thing being the receiving of numerous text messages and the need to reboot the phone for each one ...
But by 20:00 no further messages had come through, rang customer services and they tell me that everything is OK and that the phone I am ringing on (the Orange DEXT has the preferred number.
Belive it or not there is more to come tomorrow...
26 Jan 2010 23:07
Never in the history of mankind has there been a web site like this
(imaging the choir from a big budget horror film singing something emotionally powerful to get the full effect affect).
*WARNING* this web site almost killed me!
24 Jan 2010 22:32
DEXT phone what comes in the box:
SIM (duh!)
USB cable (Type-A to Micro-B) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usb#Connector_types
Mains adaptor for USB Type-A.
Manual (mostly detailing MotoBlur, only one half page in the entire thing mentions Android).
Headphones (in-ear, not yet opened)
Radiation guide.
DEXT (battery already installed and with some charge).
2gig micro SD.

DEXT phone what the hardware is like:
Feels solid, mostly metal, nice size.
Standby/Connectivity button is opposite the volume up/down button, which can cause 'problems'.
Full 3.5 headphone jack on top.
Slide switch for ringer on/off (not test to see if this is all sound)
Strong vibration.
USB Micro-B socket for charging and connection (standard USB mass storage device so works on Linux).
Short cut to launch camera button.
Under the screen:
Settings (application specific)
Menu (Return to home or quick switch to last six apps)
Back (application specific).
23 Jan 2010 23:45
Android SDK is pretty impressive, what with a full emulator, loads of sample code and offline reference pages.
The android emulator (that can be setup for multiple hardware configurations and can simulate any input, GPS/Tilt/Incoming Call/etc) *MUST* be left running to avoid the long boot up sequence when it is first initialised.
And on those notes and can say my 50 lines android application (written in 10min chunks over the last 12 days is finally bending to my will !!
I want to do some reviews of the DEXT phone but I would rather be doing this coding *RASP*
12 Jan 2010 21:50
Android is the new *shiny* for me now so after install a few apps I wanted to see how easy it was to develop my own.
It was no supprise to find gentoo had eclipse in its portage system and a joy to find it installed with no hassle quite quickly.
What was less enjoyable was the lack of an executable called "eclipse". After some searching it turned out to be the command "eclipse-3.4", which I am sure is perfectly sensible if you grew up with various versions overlapping.
Next, download the Android SDK(Software Development Kit), no need to sign up to google (yay), its just a zip file(meaning precompiled binaries, boo!).
Follow the http://developer.android.com steps and add the Android plug-in to Eclipse, then spend an hour tracking down dependencies *in eclipse*.
Starting with Android Development Tools (0.9.5.v200911191123-20404) requires plug-in "org.eclipse.gef".
Which should have been A: automatically found and B: easy to find manually in a pinch. But no, although all the dependency errors refer to the package name "org.eclipse.gef" the package manager only shows the package title and there are hundreds.
But I can finally say that I am proud to have built the "hello world" app and run it on the emulator.
For some reason the first time you use the emulator it takes 2-3 minutes to startup.
*phew* time for a break...
12 Jan 2010 08:58
Image is of the phone with flash composite with the screen from an non flash exposure, thank you GIMP.
android phone showing wallpaperblender based wallpaper for android
Blender image is a simple object generated via python with a halo light and interesting background.
Which you can get from http://wallpapers.androlib.com in red or purple
11 Jan 2010 23:34
The first thing I wanted to do with my DEXT was create and set a new wallpaper.
blendered up a nice objada at 640x480, transferred to the phone from Linux (this phone just shows up like any mass storage device), select Wallpaper, select image, set crop to whole image and ...
It looks terrible, all blurry and indistinct, double check resolution, try again same result.
The path that does result in a nice 640x480 image (scrolled across five desktops) is to use the Picture Gallery app (built-in) and then select your image and then Settings and then More then Set As and then Wallpaper and then set crop to full.
Worth it in the end ;)
(screen grab tomorrow)
11 Jan 2010 22:26
Going back to trying to get and Android phone from Orange and canceling my account with o2 ...
o2 still have not sent the PAK code so I can port my number and their lines are constantly busy, tried sending an email via the contact us web form ... no reply.Orange on the other hand finally sent me the Motorola
DEXT and its a great little phone but ...
Charge and turn on and it says you have to create a MOTOBLUR account and you can not use the phone until you do but there is no signal ...
Luckily someone was running an unprotected wifi access point, so I connected with that and created my account. Then setup the phone to use my wifi(protected).
But lots of things would not work over the wifi and 3G did not seem to be available, chalked it up to bad signal and tried again at work the next day(center of London). Not once did I see a 3G signal, but I could authenticate and connect various WIFI access points.
Rang Orange to find the reason no 3G was the account was barred only the rep could not say why and removed it. Less than a minute later 3G popped up and I went away merrily installing all the apps I could lay my hands on (more on those later).
Only I got a text two days later saying there was a problem with my account.
Rang up and found that although my direct debit details had been correct at the time of creating the account they were canceled now.
Turns out that if you setup an account but do not receive a phone of which to avail yourself of it within a single billing period they automatically cancel the DD.
*exhales* still heard nothing back from Orange and the 3hr+ phone call, maybe they are hoping I will just go away ... not bloody likely !
11 Jan 2010 22:11
Scibblenauts again.
In a cavern, star at one end and Maxwell the main character starts at the other. Ceiling and floor are 'solid' so no digging, the ceiling has two indents big enough for Maxwell to dwell but no way to connect the two.
The minor inconvenience is the tornado that roams up and down the cavern throwing anything it comes across in random directions. I tried quite a few things before settling on following three solutions.
One: "shrink ray", shoot tornado, it shrinks, walk calmly past get star - WIN!
Two: "Hole", now most things in scribblenauts are quite small so I was a taken aback when I saw the 'hole' was huge and could be planted directly below the tornado. Unfortunately it was so big that after gaining entrance I could not get out, 'ladder' is too small but for some reason 'roof ladder' is almost twice the height, climb out, get star - WIN!
Three: I tried an number of rope related tricks but neither the tornado nor the rope was co-operating. The final solution was to create two 'cliff' objects. These have the unique properties of being both a background object, so the tornado can not toss them, most building types are like this, but also having grassy platforms high up so Maxwell can clamber above the tornado. Clamber above the tornado, get star - WIN!
I have no idea if the programmers actually expected those solutions or there were in fact three more obvious, simple and clever conclusions to the level.
09 Jan 2010 22:47
I did warn you I had *stuff* to blog, but why all this;
tonight ?
And, no that is not all of the queued "to blog" stuff ;)
I am waiting for eclipse 3.4 to install all its updates and plug-ins.
And, why is that? I hear you ask ...
[to be continued]

09 Jan 2010 22:40
The sweet smell of WTF(submitted to http://thedailywtf.com/ )

Someone at work asked me about a local sweet shop and I quickly found a flash based web site for them http://www.annieschocolateemporium.co.uk/. All the sweet jars were images with very slow mouse overs with a further click required to bring up the price.
Not happy with having to, hover over, wait for text and then click every jar. I loaded up the fiddler proxy(windows only) in the hope of catching the XML file used to populate the flash movie ...
Hmmmm, does not load any additional files, and clicking on a jar to retrieve the price looks up a /prices/xx.swf URL, must be a per stock item "get latest" innovation.
Except the /prices folder has way less swf files than there are sweet jars, hang on, the /prices/xx.swf are not per stock item they are per price !
Maybe the price list is embedded in the initial swf, quick wizz through the HP SWFScan tool(also, windows only) and uh oh, each and every sweet jar is a separate clickable button, hard coded with the price swf to load up.
Visiting the store is much more pleasant.
On a side note, the contact us page map has an area marked "'ere be dragons", which is where the dentist is.
The design company behind the web site has a hard coded password in their site swf so there was never much hope.
09 Jan 2010 22:30
I am not sure where I first heard about the revomaze but as I dug further around the web it looked like something I had to have, barring the price.
It is a wonderful thing to behold and hold. Perfectly machined, solid metal and quite hefty it feels good in your hands.
The idea is really simply and if the unit was transparent then it could be considered a kids toy. Move the inner cylinder out of the main unit by pulling and twisting.
It is not transparent and the inner workings are not obvious, pulling and turning randomly will get you dropped in a trap and the puzzle must be reset to continue.
The great thing about not being able to see anything, is you do not need to see anything, meaning this can be played anywhere your hands are free.
Love it, but really want to beat it !!
09 Jan 2010 21:51
This is the review of the first of two exciting Xmas presents I got this year.
Scribblenauts a rather bizarre Nintendo DS game in which you write anything you want and it appears.
That sounds rather impossible but having played it for a while it really does seem to have a massive dictionary with very few restrictions. For instance you can not use brand names, or racial/offensive or alcohol related words.
It is a bit a hard game to describe, there are various challenges that either involve getting a star from a location or supplying a solution to a random task.
On top of 200 levels there are extra points to be scored by solving a puzzle three times, each time not repeating any of the objects conjured into the previous solutions.
Example: a football stadium (in background) a goal and goalie, with the note "Score a goal"
Solution One:"Ball", kick ball in to net, WIN!
Solution two:"Beach Ball", kick ball in to net, WIN!
Solution Three: "Football" kick, score, no the goalie caught it, oh.
In frustration "Machine gun" shoot goalie, ball get pushed into back of net, WIN!!
I could go on for ages, but I want to point out, this game is as good as you want it to be. A number of reviewers have poopoo the whole idea after finding a few objects that work and re-using them, where as I delight in trying more weird and wacky solutions like the teleporter or the toxic waste dump or the handy cliff or ra ...
Have a DS? buy this game, most places are doing it for £20 brand new.
09 Jan 2010 21:32
I needed to test a phone line a short while back but could not remember the speaking clock number (UK) so I talking clock but I was a bit surprised to see my bash script talking clock as the first non sponsored link !!
This must mean that lots of other sites link to my talking clock, but strangely (according to google) they do not *shrug*
09 Jan 2010 20:58
Now for a more positive review of something.
You may have noticed I am a fan of Neal Stephenson, so I had read Anathem a while ago.
The first thing to point out about this epic is the size, 937 pages, 2.5" inches thick and I hate to think what it ways, time for an ebook reader ...
For dragging around this tome you get an amazing and varied story that spans almost a life time. I love the way things slowly ramp up, characters, plot, theories etc until there is a massive star burst of story telling, confusing yet easy to follow.
I will say no more else give away the plot, you bet *Recommended*
09 Jan 2010 20:47
"Something, something, dark side" Family Guy's take on the Empire Strikes back could have been spectacular, the Star wars spoof Blue harvest had some dodgy spots but overall was well made and fun.
This time the *fun* part has been removed and in its place is lots of technically impressive scene for scene re-makes with the odd joke thrown in.
A good example of this is the Tauntaun (gray camel kangaroo thing) is called Dondon and has the head of Don Knotts.
Of course there are the odd truly funny bits but they are so sparse I am not looking forward to the Return of the Jedi episode.
08 Jan 2010 22:48
Found the 300 spoof "Meet the Spartans" for just £3 in HMV, I thought it was a bargain, how wrong could I be ?
AGHhhhh....! MY EYES! please use trepanning to remove not only part of my skull but the part of my brain that currently holds any record of experiencing this movie.
Notice how unfunny the above is ? thats how funny the DVD is !
02 Jan 2010 21:49
Still no new Android phone ( previously, previously, previously) but according to the email I got from Orange it is dispatched.
Unfortunately the parcel tracking number is " "
And the customer service reps have no computer access ...
And a quick note to all future companies wanting my business "I DO NOT HAVE A FAX!".
See the first thing Orange asked after last time was a credit card statement, so I scanned and emailed ... Not accepted.
Then they wanted a current bill with the company name and address, sent scan of mobile bill ... Not accepted.
Then the Companies House certificate of incorporation and a company cheque (number obfuscated) ... Not accepted.
So I went into an Orange shop ... No they could not verify my existence even with all the paperwork I had brought in including passport and company bank statements.
Got stroppy email from Orange, no more email attachments Fax only.
I have not got a fax and have never had one nor had anyone I met, accept one and that had been ripped out years ago ...
Finally got a different Orange shop to send the fax for me ...
In todays world who has a Fax at home or even in a small business ??
02 Jan 2010 21:36
Rather surprisingly I never got around to adding the 2008 yearly summary so to make up for it I added the 2009 yearly summary to the Archives
02 Jan 2010 20:24
I saw Avatar (in 3D) and it was very very impressive, despite what I had heard previously the story line is quite adequate and leaves open the possibility of a sequel or two.
What was more impressive was the shear number of names in the credits (there was nothing after the credits). IMDB cast and crew list gives you some idea
If you can, watch this in the cinema in 3D.
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