Monthly Archives: November 2007

Getting used to Thunderbird

I'm liking Thunderbird. Ditching Windows Desktop Search and installing Google Desktop Search has worked well — suits my filing system. Well, except for the occasional __GD_something_or_other process that wants to keep running when I'm shutting down the PC.

Things I've had to get used to in the switch from Outlook:

Alt-S to Send doesn't work. Alt-Enter does (Outlook supports that too.)

The column sorting icons being upside-down.

It defaults to sending from the account you're looking at when you start the new mail, rather than a fixed default. Easily changed if you remember to check it.

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It also inserts the signature automatically when you change the From account, which is neat.

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It didn't take long to get used to the vastly better IMAP performance in Thunderbird.

I don't use a Calendar plugin. Tony pointed me to a Nokia phone sync, but I haven't tried it yet — I do backup my phone contacts, but for most of them I don't have email details, so syncing is not really a priority for me.

That's about all at the moment. I've imported all my old Outlook folders into Thunderbird, which took ages, but works fine. So, byebye Outlook!

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LEGO string

HTTP://WWW.CUSTOMESSAYWRITINGSERVICESS.COM

f you find a small white box with 4500584 written on it, it has Lego string in

it. Googling 4500584 lego didn't find anything, but now it should.

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Fixing the time

Ed Bott on how to fix the time sync in Windows (and the godawful error: “The time sample was rejected because: The peer's stratum is less than the host's stratum.”)

He notes this list of alternate time servers in the US. It makes sense for reliability purp

oses to choose a server close to you; indeed some big corporates run their own time servers.

WRITINGNARRATIVEESSAY.COM

As it turns out, Microsoft has a KB article documenting a number of servers around the world: 262680: A list of the Simple Network Time Protocol (SNTP) time servers that are available on the Internet.

Choose one near you today!

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Another day, another broken form

FormThis time it's the BBC's Children In Need appeal. Okay, so CIN isn't meant to be seen outside the UK, but what with Channel BT and YouTube, it should be no surprise that bits of it (such as the superb Doctor Who short) have been seen around the world.

And I decided I wanted to donate. 'Cos it's a good cause and the dollar's going well against the UKP.

A quick Google and I figured out what they were talking about when they asked about Gift Aid. Something for UK taxpayers only, alas.

But the billing address caught me out. Okay, let's put my state name in the County field. That should work. Country… well they only seem to have continents, not countries. Australasia is it I guess. Dunno what the credit card company will make of that.

Submit… ah, it seems to be doing so

mething. Uh oh, it rejected the postcode. Wrong length. Uh no, my four digit postcode is all I have. Tell you what, I'll stuff it with zeroes. 0000003204. That would crack Aussie Post up, I'm sure.

Resubmit and… oh. It thinks it's already running. “Your request is being processed….. Please be patient….”

Well I am normally, but at time of writing it's been giving me this error for 20 minutes.

Has it gone in? Maybe, maybe not. I'll check my credit card transactions in a day or two, and hope the Children In Need don't need my donation that much.

(Oh what the hell, you might as well enjoy it here too.)

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Google Groups filtering

I like Google Groups a lot, but it's far from perfect. Of all its annoyances, the lack of a killfile (filter) is the biggest.

Fortunately there is a solution for those using Firefox:

1. Install Greasemonkey

2. Install Damian's Google Groups

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Killfile script

3. View one of the offending posts in Google Groups and click on Ignore User. Hooray, now I can finally read melb.general free of all those MI5 Persecution posts! (You can read all about that here, if you wish.)

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Statistics shows Rudd has created more jobs than Work Choices

In a demonstration of how difficult it is to single out a root cause the changes in a figure derived from complex behaviour, an economist (using the exact methodology that John Howard cites for determining the contribution of Work Choices to labour market growth) has shown that:

… [Kevin] Rudd has added many jobs – in fact 10% more jobs per month than Work Choices did.

So: polit

ician lies; footage at eleven. If the government wanted to actually measure if Work Choices made things better, they should have said something like “everywhere except WA”, or “only applies to people born after the 6th of the month” or whatever. Then they're would be two systems, and you could actually measure it.

Myself, I'm looking forward to the decrease in employment because Rudd is no longer leader of the opposition (read the article, you'll understand that comment eventually).

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This is not news

melbourne.norg.org.auLook, I'm all for citizen journalism. And Cameron Reilly is a good guy — an intelligent, witty, talented individual.

But “Man disputes $66 traffic fine” is NOT news. Something that happens thousands of times a day across Australia is NOT news. Not unless the protagonist is a

senior cop or politician.

Certainly it's worthy of a blog entry. But showing up on a news site (particularly as the top item) just makes a mockery of what citizen journalism could be and should be.

Surely there must be some real news people could be reporting on? I mean, stuff that actually matters to more than one person?

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Bloody convergence again

Follow up from this rant.

I got so sick of my stupid Dopod 838Pro being incapable of operating like a phone that I decided to have a trial separation. I borrowed a colleague's mobile phone and thought I'd have a go at using a separate phone and PDA for a while.

The separation didn't last long… I'm back using my converged device again.

I was amazed at how hard it was to do common tasks with the mobile. For exam

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ple starting a text message required 5 button presses on the phone compared to 2 on my device. Then entering the message is so much simpler on the Dopod's Qwerty keyboard. Admittedly I'm out of practice with numberpad texting. Having a large touch screen is a huge advantage for a user interface.

So now I'm stuck with trying to figure out how to make the Dopod behave better as a phone. I've uninstalled lots of apps that probably suck a fair bit of cpu. Hopefully that'll help.

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Renewable, now, goddamnit!

Although Australia's electricity is amongst the dirtiest in the world,

[Richard Elkington] said there was genuine bipartisan support at state and federal level for the development of clean coal technology. “In the absence of nuclear, what is really the alternative?” he said.

What's the alternative? Taking your hand off it for a start.

Wind. Tidal. Geothermal. Solar (not PV, that's not economic). Coupled with hydro.

Sure, wind, tidal and solar are unsuitable for baseload generation. Geothermal would be fine for that, New Zealand has been running geothermal powerstations for more than thirty years -it's a proven technology. Perhaps it's too expensive to drill the necessary holes in Australia, we're not on top of the ring of fire like NZ is.

There's nothin

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g stopping you pumping water back into a hydroelectric dam using the fluctuating power generated by wind, tidal and solar plants, and then using the potential energy of the water in that dam as an energy buffer to smooth out generation. For example, solar could pump water during the day, to run the dam at night. All proven, tested, real zero emission technolgies. Windmills have been around for hundreds of years, along with dams. Getting power out of them has been around for a hundred. We know how to do it, really efficiently.

No need for thirsty nuclear, or pixies-at-the-bottom-of-the-garden “clean” coal. “Clean” coal solutions require the rebuilding of power stations (at enormous cost) anyway, so why not build a windmill rather than a smokestack, if the environmental effect is going to be the same (note: “clean” coal still puts out CO2).

It's just a matter of the politicians pulling their fingers out and making it happen. Don't expect that anytime soon.

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How many people still use Mailwasher?

Does anybody still use Mailwasher?

“MailWasher retrieves information about all the emails on the server. With that information (some of which is also processed by MailWasher) you can decide what to do with each individual email – download, delete, or bounce back.

If you check your account with MailWasher first, you can delete or bounce the emails you do not want. Then, when you use your email program, it downloads only the remaining emails, those that you want to read.”

MailWasher's been around for a while, and I know some people still use it. I tried it some time ago, and it just didn't seem worth my time to review the headers and choose which items to delete/bounce, as a prelude to actually downloading and reading my email. I might feel differently if I was still on dialup, or perilously close to my download limit. But as it is, if any spam gets through to my mailbox, I'm happy enough deleting it from my email client.

And given the spammers use fake originating addresses and rarely seem to validate the lists they use (I know this because they've faked my address as an originator, so I've seen the bounces), I'm not convinced bouncing spam back does any good.

So Mailwasher was great in the olden days of dialup, but these days… I guess some people still use it, but I don't see the need.

Some people have taken to passing their email through Gmail (forward from your email address to Gmail, then read via Gmail's POP or IMAP access), to make use of Gmail's spam filters. My ISP has spam filters which work fairly well, so I haven't resorted to that yet.

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Gmail gets faster / IMAP

So I tried IMAP for Gmail in Thunderbird. And to be honest, while it works, I've stopped using it because it's too slow. Probably due to the sheer distance to the Gmail servers, it plods along compared to my other IMAP servers, and indeed compared to Gmail itself.

In fact, Gmail appears to have had a further upgrade in the last few days which makes the web site even more responsive. Actions such as Delete now appear to happen immediately, with little lag after clicking the button. I reckon they're doing more processing behind the scenes — the give-away is that if you try and leave the Gmail page straight after doing something like deleting a message, it warns you that you may lose your changes.

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They've tweaked the interface too, with a highlight > icon showing the current message, a nicer popup for email contacts, and you can Sign Out of chat if you don't want it bothering you.

And the space available is still creeping up; mine reckons I've got almost 5Gb available: “You are currently using 373 MB (7%) of your 4731 MB.”

(I haven't yet moved all my old Outlook mail to Thunderbird. Want to test out the Windows Desktop Search add-in for Thunderbird, so I know I'll still be able to find stuff! Alternately I might switch to another search; preferably one that supports both Thunderbird and Gmail.)

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