That Google Car in Belfast

The Google Streetview Car (Streetcar?) spotted in Belfast (Queen’s Road, Titanic Quarter) yesterday morning whilst I sat in my car pondering on the future.  A bloke on my Twitter watch list described seeing a similar car in Sheffield just an hour or so previously, or I wouldn’t have even realised it was the Google car (assuming he’s correct of course).

OK, the video’s not up to much, but I had been trying

to take a photo instead!

Things that Piss Me Off 4: Shitty Broadband Comparison Sites

I’ve come across this before and complained (to no avail, but the vent was worth it) but today I discovered that Ofcom has an accreditation scheme for broadband sites. This sounded promising so I checked out the two sites that I was advised had received said accreditation: SimplifyDigital.co.uk and BroadbandChoices.co.uk.

Long-time readers (pretending there are any) will know that misleading advertising broadband is a major pet peeve of mine. Not misselling speeds, because there’s no reliable way an ISP can accurately predict what speed your line will take (if you don’t already have broadband).  This mis-selling is much worse; I’m talking about the companies who lie in their headline speeds by advertising broadband “from £4.99 a monthfor the first three months, £14.99 thereafter, 12 month contract applies, not inclusive of compulsory phone-line rental.

Of course companies will continue to advertise lies like this as long as they get away with it, even the once-honest Plus net (who I do otherwise like) have now jumped on the bandwagon claiming they need to compete with scum like Tiscali and BT. Until someone takes them up on it they’ll continue lying and cheating customers with scant regard for concepts like honesty and integrity, but surely we can expect more of the broadband comparison sites who are, after all, fighting for a fair deal for the consumer, right?

Wrong. It seems the comparison sites get all caught up in the headline figures and thus actively encourage the misleading advertising that broadband companies seem so keen on.

Continue reading “Things that Piss Me Off 4: Shitty Broadband Comparison Sites”

nerd. links – LDAP Browser

Had a bitch of a day today in work, with an application I was playing with refusing to play with Active Directory (largely because I’ve never used LDAP before and couldn’t figure out the weird bloody syntax).

So I’d really like to offer a quick thank you to Jarek Gawor for developing (and releasing) his LDAP Browser/Editor which let me double check that I was connecting to the right server/port and play with the settings enough that I eventually got it sussed. Great wee Java tool.

Screenshot of LDAP Browser/Editor

ICANN Set Stage for Domain Free-For-All

Yesterday’s decision by ICANN to allow any Tom, Dick or Harry to create their own top-level domain is a bit worrying.  With TLDs like .TV, .biz and .info struggling to make much of an impact (except maybe doubling the amount of spam flying around the internet), who really thinks that allowing people to make up their own?

As appealing as it might be to shift this site from SteveFerson.com to Steve.Ferson, it hardly seems worth the confusion of creating an infinite number of domains for the same company. At present you can usually find a site by typing companyname.com or companyname.co.uk into your address bar. Under these plans, even Googling for a company name could theoretically bring up hundreds of results all pretending to be the ‘real’ site.

That said, it was worth it for this headline from ZD Net.

Good news for existing proposals like .nyc for New York City and .xxx for adult sites. Depending on the costs of setting it up, I could also see a new TLD appearing for Northern Ireland (.nir ?) and am sure some enterprising spirit will attempt to register .blog.  Feel free to leave your suggestion for a new TLD below.

Firefox 3 – Initial Impressions

I haven’t come across anything truly groundbreaking in Firefox 3, possibly because I’ve become accustomed to much of the feature set through the Betas and RCs, but there are one or two improvements that are quite useful (as well as a couple of regressions unfortunately).

Wee Niggles

First the bad. When you view Page Info from the context menu it doesn’t give a link to the CSS file in the Media tab any more. I was sure it was there in 2 and a quick google confirmed this. This really sucks – I can’t see why they’ve taken it out.

Secondly, when I was looking through the options to try and return the aforementioned CSS links, I discovered Firefox had decided it was going to automatically download any future updates when they were discovered (I promptly switched the option to “Ask me…”). Bad Firefox.

Magic Address Bar

The good is good though. It doesn’t seem like it at first, but to my mind the biggest improvement of all is the address bar. Sure they’ve added a “Most Visited” folder to your bookmarks toolbar which (shockingly, given the title) contains a list of the sites you visit most frequently, but the address bar has some great, if not immediately obvious, usability improvements.

Continue reading “Firefox 3 – Initial Impressions”

FireFox 3 Released Today

Looks like the excitement is a little bit premature. Not just yet, but at 6pm BST the newest version of Mozilla’s FireFox web browser will be released. Mozilla want Firefox 3 to break the record for the most downloads in 24 hours, which begs the question as to why they pissed off Australasia and half of Asia by promoting Download Day as today, 17th June, when they’re not making the new version available until 10am Pacific Time which means the aforementioned regions will not see the download released until it is 18th June there.

That’s without even considering yours truly and millions of other Europeans who will be finished their days work.

Good work Mozilla.

WordPress / Fantastico Server Move

I recently moved this site to a new host because of ongoing problems with my previous hosts. Thanks to some intermittent database errors I’d decided it would be prudent to do my first backup in some time at the start of last week. By the end of that week they’d deleted my account, so I suppose I should be grateful their database server was so f**ked. Nevertheless, the move caused a few issues when my new hosts told me the complete backup I uploaded to them was corrupt. I can only assume (because some backups were corrupt and others weren’t) that it was due either to encrypting the archives using AES in Winzip or decrypting them in 7zip.

Anyway, that meant manually creating the accounts, setting up the mail accounts and subdomains in them, extracting the root folders (public_html, mail etc) individually and manually importing the SQL backup.

Everything was relatively painless (if dull) however Fantastico wouldn’t recognise my WordPress installations (I had two). To persuade Fantastico that there really were a couple of WordPress blogs I had to do two things:

  1. Extract the \.fantasticodata\WordPress files from the zip (in this case it was called nerd.steveferson.com| ) and upload it to the same location in the FTP server. Of course that bar | made Windows barf, so you’d need to rename it (e.g. using an underscore instead) and replace the bar after uploading it via the FTP client (FileZilla didn’t seem to have a problem doing this).
  2. I think this is might be because the blog’s in the root of a subdomain, but I also had to upload a file called installed_in_root.php from \.fantasticodata to that location on the server.

Once I did this, Fantastico picked up the blog and allowed me to upgrade WordPress to 2.5.1 – no hassle.

What’re you lookin’ at?

Well I thought it was interesting so here’s the top 10 posts on nerd. by number of views (based on the last 500 page hits courtesy of Statcounter.com).

  1. Review: Why the Netgear WG311 v3 Sucks (72)
    Slightly dodgy network card that Netgear don’t seem that fussed about fixing.

    Bad on XP, it got worse on Vista (see number 4).

  2. Playing iPod Video on Your TV (45)
    Seems to be a lot of people looking for instructions for the iPod Classic. Here’s a tip: sell it.
  3. Server application unavailable: installing IIS on .NET 2.0 (44)
    Seems to be a common problem. Sadly Microsoft’s error message is about as relevant as ever.
  4. Installing Vista (AKA More Netgear WG311 Misery) (31)
    Even more messed up. Thank goodness for Linksys!
  5. Thunderbird/Outlook/Google Calendar Integration (25)
    How to integrate your Thunderbird calendar at home with your Outlook in work, via Google Calendar.
  6. Orange Answerphone (Voicemail) Number for PAYG (23)
    Such a simple problem. Who knew it would be so hard to find?
  7. Stop Monitor.exe Hogging CPU (20)
    Why can’t people just give you a standard installation instead of trying to do everything for you? Help sounds good, until their useful tools start killing your PC.
  8. How to run IIS Web Server in Windows XP Home (20)
    Microsoft’s official line is it can’t be done, but it’s not that tricky.
  9. Making Firefox Scroll With Syanptics TouchPad (19)
    Discovering the solution to making Firefox scroll on my Acer Aspire laptop.
  10. NAS or Home Server (17)
    I deliberate over whether I can justify spending the extra to build or buy a home server before eventually deciding that a Linkstation Live will meet my needs for less than half the price.

I Can Has Vista Sidebar Gadget?

O hai!

I hart lolcatz.

I hart lolcatz so much dat wun dai I thoughted “I can has lolcatz wen I makes teh pooter turn on?” So I maded a Vista gadjit an now I has new lolcatz every dai.

If u hart lolcatz liek mee an wants lolcatz in ur pooter makin u laff, downlodes mah gadjit. I has tested it 4 liek rly long time. It rly works, srsly.

An evry1 needses moar lolcatz.

Kthxbai.

Continue reading “I Can Has Vista Sidebar Gadget?”

£169 iPhone Still £169 Too Expensive

O2 have slashed the cost of owning the Apple iPhone (8GB model only). It’s down from £269 to £169. The same deal is also available at the Carphone Warehouse. Good news I’m sure, but you’d still have to be mad to pay a penny for the damn thing on top of the £35 × 18 = £630 of a minimum contract when you can get Nokia’s N95 8GB (which I have been seriously coveting for months) for “free” at that price (then again, without any kind of data plan that’s extortionate too).

Maybe if my N73 breaks I’ll consider upgrading, but since I’m spending a tenner a month on pay-as-you-go I can’t really justify jumping to £35/month for the N95 8GB or to £44 a month for an iPhone.  Maybe if I hold out long enough…