Author Archives: tony

Google Maps Does Australia

Google Map’s satellite pictures are now available for Australia, you can see my place on this page. Judging by empty blocks that are now houses the pictures were taken in the past six months or so.

Running Out Of Scissors and Clag in Firefox

Yesterday after a browser crash I suddenly lost the ability to cut and paste anything to, from and within Firefox. A little hunting told me my initialisation file, user.js, must have been corrupted and that it was – so corrupted it had disappeared completely.

The solution to not being able to cut, copy or paste in Firefox is thankfully simple. If you have a user.js file simply paste the following in to it :

user_pref(“capability.policy.policynames”, “allowclipboard”);
user_pref(“capability.policy.allowclipboard.Clipboard.paste”, “allAccess”);

If you don’t have, or can’t find, your user.js file download the ChromEdit extension from, select the user.js tab and paste the above in to the box.

Of course, if you’ve found this page via Google you probably have the problem and can’t cut and paste from here so you may need the IE View (view this page in IE) extension.

The Cheek!

I just got a spam, yawn, we all say – but I noticed this one in the Outlook notification has a message ‘Get a decent capable HTML mail program’.

Not only are they spamming me, but now they’re insulting me too.

IE Gets Tabs

Internet Explorer now has tabs.

You can get them by installing the MSN Toolbar, which should also give you the fantastic (yes, I a truly wonderful Microsoft product, even it it based on Lookout) MSN desktop search.

I’ve only just installed it but it looks okay so far.

Don’t Believe The Hype

For iPod owners contemplating purchasing an iTrip, pause a second.

I’ve been unhappy with my iPod battery life pretty much since I purchased it six months ago. Finally I’d had enough and sent it off to Apple support to be checked. It took them three weeks to run a one day test and the test showed it was fine. They sent it back and, $20 later, I had my same iPod that still seemed to have a battery life considerably shorter than the promoted 12 hours.

It was only a few days later I realised what was wrong.

a) I mainly use my iPod in the car to and from work.
b) I use a Griffin iTrip
c) The iTrip FAQ told me ” it uses VERY little power from the iPod and has no real effect on battery life”.

It was believing C that cost me $20 and no iPod for almost a month.

I finally twigged that C may not be correct so I ran my own test.

I kept the volume level the same for each day, set it to shuffle play and did not touch the unit until the battery expired.

Day 1 – iPod, no headphones. Batteries lasted 11.5 hours
Day 2 – iPod with iTrip. Batteries lasted 7.5 hours (No power bars visible for about the last hour so it looked as though it had run out after 6)
Day 3 – iPod with headphones attached. 11 hours.

Now this is very unscientific and a sample size of one but the iTrip reduced my iPod battery life by approx 32% – that seems a lot more than a ‘VERY little’ reduction to me.

That F’n Key

Microsoft make good keyboards. They also make good mice. My choice of keyboard is the Microsoft Wireless Natural Keyboard, combined with the wireless optical mouse it’s a killer combination – except for one ‘feature’ – the new Enhanced Function keys. The F keys not only now perform their standard F1-12 features they can also perform extended operations by using the new F Lock key.

A great idea but for one thing. They default to the new extended settings, ie the F Lock key is on. So when you press F5 to refresh a screen of directory listing the Open dialogue box appears, F12 in Dreamweaver is supposed to preview your page in a browser, but the extended F key prints out the source code. No problem you say, just change the option so the F key doesn’t come on by default. This is where the stupidity enters – you can’t. It’s a physical switch in the keyboard so you have to remember to disengage the F Lock before you want to use F1 to F12.

This drove me mad, and I have many print outs of page coding to prove this, until I stumbled across this great reg-edit on Bleeding Edge. By installing the F Lock Key Flip your problems are solved. It only works for Windows 2000 and XP and it will save you a lot of aggravation.

iT’s Coming

Rumours flying around the internet thanks to Mr Russell Crowe that the iTunes Music Store will finally open for business in Australia tomorrow, April 28th. (See the article – free registration required).

The pricing mentioned (AUD$1.50+) means I’ll probably only be using it to buy individual songs as purchasing the CD, which has no restrictions, is much more appealing and better value than purchasing an entire album online. Still, it will be great to finally catch up with the civilised world, even if my Visa card doesn’t agree.

iPod Battering

I love my iPod, it is an amazing piece of technology that really seems to make your life better. Those of you scoffing now obviously don’t have one, trust me, when you get one you will agree.

The only thing I haven’t been happy with the is its battery life. After six months I now lose a quarter of a full charge if I don’t have it plugged in for a day and I’m only getting about four hours of play time at 60% volume, so I called Apple support today. After the normal half hour of going round in circles I was told two things.

1. Don’t recharge using your cradle. There isn’t enough power from the USB card to fully charge the battery. Always charge the pod using a wall socket.

2. Update and reformat the pod. I assume this works in a similar fashion to a defrag. In the fifty minutes since I’ve done this I’ve transferred 2600 songs back on the unit. Thank god for USB2.

I’ll give it a week or so and if it hasn’t worked I’ll be sending it off for a battery replacement, which is actually a pot luck iPod replacement, but I want my iPod to last more than a hundred shuffles.

Bye Bye Dreamweaver

Bad news for the web design community – Adobe has just announced it is acquiring Macromedia. I fear the worse for the wonderful products I use the most – Dreamweaver and Fireworks. Dreamweaver will probably survive, it’s the market leader and Adobe have all but shown they can’t compete but with the Adobe stable of bloat ware image processing applications the lean-mean webcentric Fireworks will probably be put out to pasture.

I guess I’ll keep the install disc safely for as long as I possibly can.

Drop It

Today’s fantastic free utility is brought to you by Tango FTP. It’s a free utility that allows you to set up FTP drop boxes. These boxes sit on your screen and anything you drop on them is FTPd to the server you have associated with that box. Simple, handy and free. Check Tango Drop Box for a demo and your free download.

(Via Lifehacker)

Real Region Free

A mate of mine, Nigel – the copywriter to the stars, sent me a Region 2 encoded DVD. My AV set-up is good, but the DVD player is dated. It’s a six year old Sony that is locked in to Region 4 and has no software unlock.

I tried the DVD in it anyway, ’cause sometimes R2 play in R4, but it didn’t work. I plonked it in my PC – Windows Media Player asked me to change the DVD drive region, leaving me with 4 changes. I tried it in the DVD burner, same thing. I tried to unlock it with DVD Shrink but that wanted me to change the region too.

Then I tried my least used media player – Real Player (get it from the BBC Real Player download page, it has no spyware or annoying ‘features’ if you get it from here) and it played the disc with no problems.

Little Dreams Coming True

At last, one of my longest standing tech dreams has been realised. I can finally sync my phone with Outlook. I know you’ve been able to do this for years but up until today I’ve never had the means to. Two weeks ago I got a great new Nokia 6230 so I purchased a connector cable off Ebay which arrived today. I could have used Bluetooth for my connection but this chews through battery life (more of which shortly) and a cable was cheaper than an IR usb adaptor. Now I have all my contacts and calendar information for the next 12 months wherever I go.

“But surely you had all this in your Ipaq?” I hear you ask. I did, but in an effor to simplify my life and reduce the bulge in my left pocket I am increasingly leaving it home in favour of my Hipster PDA. Another reason for relying less on the iPaq is the Pocket PC version of Microsoft Money never really synched with my desktop version and tracking finances on the go was one of the major reasons I wanted a PDA. Now I simply keep my receipts in my wallet until I get home.

While I love my new phone, I’ve even set it up so I can email photos from it direct to Flickr (see my test shot), I am not impressed with the battery. It advertises 300 hours of standby – I get 48. I’ve tried to get it replaced but am having nightmare time as Optus and Nokia shuffle responsibility. All I want is a new battery and they will never hear from me again.