Monthly Archives: October 2008

Youtube RSS feeds

It's not widely publicised, but Youtube publishes RSS feeds so you can track the latest uploaded videos from your favourite users.

They take the form: http://gdata.youtube.com/feeds/api/users/USER/uploads

Quite handy at times.

Acrobat rant

I knew there was a reason I'm an Acrobat luddite. What moron decided the toolbar options most frequently sought in a hurry, rotate page, should be removed from the default toolbars in Acrobat Reader 8? (The corporate PCs just got upgraded from 7 to 8. I haven't tried 9 yet.)

To get the Rotate back: View / Toolbars / More Tools. Scroll down the window to the options for the Page Display Toolbar and turn on Rotate Clockwise and Rotate Anti Counter-Clockwise.

Now, can someone explain to me how Acrobat has bloated so much over the years?

Acrobat versions sizes

And WTF was the deal with version 7.05?!

Summer 2008/2009 starts

I have a algorithm for detecting summer. Seven consecutive days in a row with a temperature of or above 20 degrees Celsius. I give you Summer, from the Bureau's seven day forecast for Melbourne:

Thursday      Fine.                                  Min  6    Max 21
Friday        Mainly fine.                           Min 12    Max 25
Saturday      Fine.                                  Min 12    Max 30
Sunday        Shower or two.                         Min 15    Max 22
Monday        Fine.                                  Min 10    Max 23
Tuesday       Fine.                                  Min 12    Max 28

I swear, this gets earlier and earlier each year.

Retro computer quiz

Try this: retro computer quiz.

I got 6 out of 10. It was mostly the unrecognisable late-80s/early-90s consoles that let me down.

McCain vs Obama.com

johnmccain.com and barackobama.com are both registered with GoDaddy, but McCain appears to have registered through GoDaddy India via Domains By Proxy… (Why does his campaign need to use Domains By Proxy, which is designed for anonymous domain registration? Maybe they just love outsourcing?)

JohnMcCain.com has been around since 1998; BarackObama.com since 2000.

McCain uses IIS running on Linuxhypoallergenic wet dog fooda> (?). Obama uses PWS running on Linux.

And the running mates? joebiden.com has been around since 1998; sarahpalin.com is not owned by the campaign, but is registered through the same proxy company as McCain.

Sarah runs Linux with Frontpage extensions (yeuch!); Biden's running Apache.

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AU online music bargain

With Bigpond Music now selling DRM-free MP3s, and their range increasing every week, they're fast becoming my etailer of choice for music downloads.

Right now (and I don't know how long it'll last) they've got a 25% discount offer on music vouchers brought from Safeway/Woolworths, and possibly other retailers.

So tracks that normally cost $1.69 (the same as Apple's iTunes in Australia) now effectively cost about $1.27, and an album about $12.37. Vouchers appear to be valid for about a year and a half.

You can browse the web site before paying to see if they have what you want. Admittedly, they don't have as wide a range (even in their older format WMA) as iTunes.

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Panasonic phone troubleshooting

My Panasonic cordless phone/answering machine (KX-A142 ALM) has been pretty good, though the interface is shocking. Who on earth decided “INT” then “#” should be the sequence to listen to messages?

Anyway, a couple of things were causing me problems.

1. When the clock resets itself, it's not at all obvious how to set it again.

Eventually I found the manual and did it, but for the record:

  • Press the menu button (the box with horizontal lines in it)
  • Press the Down button until you get to “SETTING BS” (I guess it stands for base station)
  • Press right
  • It&

    #039;ll say “INPUT CODE”. Rather than input the code… press * to set the time (hh mm), or ** to set the date (dd mm yy)

  • When done, press the menu button again to confirm

2. A couple of days ago it stopped being able to make outgoing calls. It could get a dial tone, but wouldn't dial.

I fixed this with a reboot, which involves holding the red power button on the handset down for 1+ seconds so it switches off, then again to switch it back on. Voila.

Helpfully, Panasonic has manuals available on their web site.

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Cleaning up your PC

I was wondering two things about “Snowy”, one of my PCs:

Why was the fan so noisy?

And why did it occasionally stop dead in its tracks? Typically when the machine was busy, and particularly noticeable while playing games. No warning, no graceful shutdown, just power off.

I had been planning for a re-installation of Windows, and started the process when it shut down again.

So I decided to open it up. Checked a few connections. Nothing obviously loose.

Then I looked at the fan. Caked in dust.

Using a vacuum cleaner, a duster and

a pen (the latter for poking in to disturb the dust where nothing else would reach) I cleaned around the motherboard, and particularly on and around the fan.

What appears to have been happening is that due to the dust, the fan was having to work harder than usual. And when the CPU got busy/hot, the fan couldn't cope, the CPU overheated, and something smart in the PC was cutting the power to stop it causing any damage.

Since the cleaning, the fan is not only quieter, but there haven't (touch wood) been any more sudden shut downs.

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