Monthly Archives: June 2011

Hotmail/MS web weirdness

Seeing weird behaviour on Marita and Justine’s PCs: trying to access Hotmail, and most other Microsoft web sites, the browser will divert to, but not be able to render the page. It appears to load much or all of the data, but never completes.

It’s apparently been doing this for about a week, on both PCs, using a variety of browsers installed on them, including IE9, Firefox 3 and 5 and Chrome — so presumably not a cache problem.

It’s affecting hotmail,, (which in Australia redirects to ), even It seems the common ground is they all use for authentication.

However if you use IE’s Help / Online Support option, it does get to the relevant page. I wonder if that bypasses the authentication stage.

Using View Source, it appears the pages partially load, but do not complete, so do not render completely (eg, or at all in some cases ( Or on some sites (including this blog) it loads the page, but chokes on other content (such as the sharing widget).

One PC is running Vista, one XP. Both have the latest patches. One has MS Security Essentials, the other AVG.

They both use the same connection via a router and modem, but other devices (such as a phone browsing via wifi and the same router/modem) don’t have the issue.

Tried turning off the firewall. No luck. Tried removing all of last week’s Windows patches. No luck.

The net connection is okay. A speed test says line speed is 4.75 Mbps.

The affected web sites are fine at my place.

Anybody seeing the same? Any ideas of things to try?

Update 9:05pm. Tried bypassing the wireless router in favour of the modem. It now all works. So it’s some weird-arse setting on the router. Investigations continue.

Update 9:30pm. Would you believe rebooting the modem fixed it? Blargh! This is why they always suggest to turn things off then on again.

Gateway computer, circa 2000

Was clearing out some papers on the weekend and found this: an order form for a Gateway computer from June 2000. I can hardly believe I used to spend that much dosh on buying computers.

Order form for a Gateway computer, June 2000

I seemed quite impressed with the spec when I ordered it.

That computer worked until 2005, when its (custom) PSU died.

Comparison of costs: 1995 vs 2000 vs 2005.

To this day, the speakers that came with it (from “Cambridge Soundworks”) are still going strong, even though their beige colour doesn’t match all the black stuff.

Google Apps to support last two browser releases

Interesting: Google Apps has stated they will support the last major version, and the second-last of web browsers.

As of August 1st, we will discontinue support for the following browsers and their predecessors: Firefox 3.5, Internet Explorer 7, and Safari 3.

I suppose IE6 was around for so long that it’s easy to think of IE7 as being “new”. But in fact it’s five years old this year (official release October 2006), and was officially superseded two years ago.

Hopefully all those corporates who dragged their heels on IE6 can move a little faster off IE7.

New phone: HTC Desire S

HTC Desire S, copying data from my old phoneGot a new phone. HTC Desire S. Nice. Will blog here as I discover how it works.

Friday night

Played around with it as it charged while plugged into the mains. Thought I’d got the PIN wrong when I initially started it, and it only gives you three goes. First try: PIN from the SIM didn’t work. Second try a PIN from the account which I thought I could remember (but never can… you never do, so who uses it?) On a hunch the final try I tried the SIM PIN again, and got it right. Obviously I’d mistyped it. Annoying only three goes though.

Startup sequence guided me through setting up the phone. Pretty good. Happily said it would connect via Bluetooth to the old phone and copy contacts, calendar and SMSs across. Gave specific instructions for what to do on the other end (Nokia N95). Neato.

Figured out there was a wifi network, and asked for details. It appears to use that where possible, or mobile if not available.

HTC don’t appear to publish the SAR ratings on the web, but they are clearly marked on a sticker inside the box: 0.445 (head) 0.542 (body). This is reasonably low — I’m surprised they don’t shout about it more. I had wanted a phone with a low rating… the only place I saw it listed was on a Norwegian mobile dealer’s web site (which was found thanks to Chelsworthgale on Twitter — note their table of various brands… some of the Sonys are very high).

It also synced up to my Google account and linked to my Twitter account.

Saturday morning

I think I’ve figured out the basic navigation now, in particular the hard buttons along the bottom.

The sync to Google may not have been especially helpful. It’s added lots of contacts with email-only who I never talk to. I suspect many of them I’ve never emailed, but may have received messages from via email discussion lists. Will require a cleanup. Looking at Gmail on my PC, it’s not immediately obvious where I can clean this up… though hopefully it’s there somewhere, as it’d take ages via the phone.

Ah, in the Contact list you can only display those with a phone number: People; options; View; Only with phone number. That makes things easier to deal with. (Found via the Google Mobile support forum.)

Web access looks okay. Twitter works okay, but I haven’t figured out what the difference is between the Twitter app (is that the built-in Android one?) and the HTC Sense Twitter app.

Need to figure out the alert sounds. Nokias have profiles which can be easily set so if you’re in a meeting you can switch it to silent. I’m not yet clear on how to do that.

I’m also not clear on how much battery the seemingly always-running apps are burning. This article suggests some ways of cutting battery use (for the Desire, not specifically the Desire S).

Sunday evening

The battery ran out last night, which didn’t seem like outstanding life, but I suppose I’d been fiddling with it most of the day, and it was the first charge.

I recharged overnight and the battery life has been much better today.

I’m suspicious of the fact that icons hang around in the top-left area, occupying memory and perhaps taking battery life. Last night I tried the “Car panel” application, but bailed out when it asked me precisely what I wanted to do. A car icon showed up, and didn’t go away (even overnight after shutting down and restarting the phone) until I again went into the “Car Panel” properly and shut it down fully.

It’s a similar story with the Twitter and GMail applications. Of course I’m more likely to want them hanging around, but if I spend some time at my PC, I don’t really want my phone beeping when Tweets or emails arrive. It’d be nice to be able to shut apps off completely when not needed. Perhaps as I keep learning how to use the phone, I’ll work out how to deal with this.

At first I didn’t like the typing, but I’m getting used to it, and HTC’s version of predictive text works quite well… as long as I’m not trying to write a #RoadMorons Tweet quoting someone’s licence plate number.

The Android Market works quite well, at least for the two free apps I downloaded — Angry Birds (ad supported, about as fun to play as on Google Chrome), and Tram Hunter, an unofficial Android version of Tram Tracker, which works well.

Niggles aside, I’m enjoying the phone a lot.

Monday lunchtime

Noticed last night that the weather app that runs as default splashes animated rain drops and a windscreen wiper over the screen when it’s raining. And when the sun was shining this morning, that was animated too. Cute. However this morning it was claiming that in Melbourne it was 4 degrees outside… in fact the Bureau of Meteorology reckoned it was 10.

Tried out charging via USB from a PC. Good; very handy.

The article that Terry linked to (in the comments) is very good at explaining how Android works with background apps, and has a nice reminder that This Ain’t Windows, and it doesn’t always matter if stuff continues running.

Paul2’s tip that you can drag the notification panel down to look more closely at it is handy, and something I don’t recall seeing in the instructions (though I haven’t read them in great detail). It also gives access to quick settings such as turning WAP on and off, which is handy for preserving battery life.

The old Nokia N95 in screen saver mode would still tell you the time (and a couple of monochrome icons for missed calls, new messages). The Desire S won’t tell you anything, except it flashes an LED if there’s something new that’s come in. As I mentioned above, this is not necessarily a good thing when GMail and Twitter are sending notifications of stuff I’ve already spotted from my PC, and I only really want to know about text messages and missed calls. And it’d be nice to be able to see the time without waking the phone up.

Update Monday night

Uploading to Youtube was problematic over 3G, but worked okay from home over Wifi. The video quality seems okay.

Likewise, Flickr (using the builtin app, some HTC creation) was causing trouble over 3G, but fine over Wifi. Tony recommended I try Flickroid instead, which I will. The photo quality seems okay, and at the full size, there’s a reasonable amount of detail.

Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Thursday night

Just a few more thoughts…

OK, the battery life of this thing appears to (just) get me through 24 hours. The fact that it can be charged via USB is excellent, but I suppose standard these days.

Found my pics/video while browsing the phone’s file system in DCIM/100MEDIA, which wasn’t exactly intuitive, but wasn’t too hard to find.

Also found on the file system: a full PDF manual!

Most of the photos I’ve taken are lovely and clear. I still need to play around with the video to get a sense of the quality, but at first glance it seems not too bad.

The Twitter client has crashed a couple of times. Not really clear why.

I’ll probably get used to switching off wifi when I leave the house.

Likewise, getting used to how text messages are handled, in threads by sender.

Web browser seems to work flawlessly.

All in all, still liking.

Waiting for logon

Windows-powered public big screens gone wrong just don’t get old, do they? Unlike most, this hadn’t crashed — it was waiting for logon.

Waiting for logon

Presumably it had been rebooted and nobody’s figured out how to make it logon automatically.