24 September 2014

balletballet, my wife and a ballet shop...

So, here is a little "shout out" for my wife. :-)

Karley has just started a new venture, as both our children are going to school now. We've (I'm tech) have just created an on-line ballet shop. She sells some great quality but affordable ballet shoes and dance-wear. The shop can supply dance classes in the BS20 and surrounding areas.

Have a look if you have a budding baby ballet star, or if you need to refresh your current outfit.


15 April 2014

New Facebook Android app and sorting News feed by recency

Have you lost the ability to sort the new Facebook Android app by the recency of News feed.

Is it defaulted to Top Stories? Do you want it back? Or at least an easy way to switch?

I think I've got a little solution....

Click the menu button (it's that one with three bars) - you may have to press it twice if you don't get the "options" page first time.

Below your Facebook profile picture you should get a set of FAVORITES

What we want to do is add News Feed recency to those favorites. It's called "Most Recent" on the Facebook app.

So whist still on that options page scroll down to nearly the bottom and the section labelled SETTINGS.

Click Edit Favorites in that SETTINGS section.

Scroll down to FEEDS and click on the star to select "Most Recent" and confirm you want to add that favorite.

Make sure you press the "Finish Editing" at the top to save your settings.

Then scroll back to top and you should see "Most Recent" at the top of this menu/options page.

You can know click on Most recent and your normal viewing for news feed recency has returned.

The Android Facebook app seems to remember this setting when you switch to other tabs. Pressing the menu (three bars) returns you to the most recent news feed.

Pressing again and it take you back to options if required.

If this works for you DON'T deactivate the "Most Recent" from "Favorites" as it then seems to remove the option to re-add (after removal). I removed mine to create a better screenshot for this post and then lost the option to re-add completely. Restarting my phone brought the "Most Recent" option back.


12 February 2014

Update on discount train tickets by splitting journeys

I wrote a previous post about using the Martin Lewis' Money Saving Expert Tickety Split website/app but I found that it didn't always give the best results.

When checking to go on the same journey the results from the app weren't consistent. However, it does say that the app is Lite and clause 8 applies:
"Why is it TicketySplit Lite? This is a three-month trial of the technology and is currently free. However, every time you search we have to pay. Frankly, we have to see how popular and well used it is. We're willing to foot the bill up to a certain level; beyond that we'll have to do some careful thinking. We called this 'Lite', so you'll know it may change."

Therefore I found a way to do my own testing of the best prices once I knew of the journey split details.
You can run queries on the National Rail website and save the urls for later.

Bristol Parkway to Clapham Junction (full journey)

Bristol Parkway to Didcot Parkway (Part A journey)

Bristol Parkway to Clapham Junction (Part B journey)

By using the second two journeys it works out to be a 42% saving on the full journey cost.

Try them out yourself?


11 February 2014

Bristol Team Honk relay for Sport Relief 2014

My wife helped with the Sport Relief charity fundraising today by completing one of the Bristol stages of the Team Honk Relay. She was completing the stage with PracticlyPerfectMums and members of Team Missfit (Portishead).

They were all very keen at the start:

and keen to show off the fund raising text number on any available space:
 (Text HONK to 70005 and donate £5 to Sport Relief)

but very relieved to be finished and passing the baton to the next team (see they are on horses!):

I couldn't resist joining in and so I helped them for part of the journey. I'm the one in the blue! Here we are mid run between the Bristol Suspension bridge and Pill:


18 January 2014

Google Alerts - new HTML design (with screenshots).

So I use Google Alerts for monitoring certain keywords that I'm interested in. It's like your own personal Google search and alerting system. You configure a search and it monitors any new pages detected and then alerts you to them via a handy email.

Here are the help page for using Google Alerts. The system is quite configurable.

Today I received a new style HTML alert. See examples below.

See old style:
Google Alert screenshot old

See new style:
Google Alert screenshot new

16 January 2014

Multiple deleting of emails in Android Gmail?

Do you find yourself trying to multiple delete emails in Android Gmail? I did, and spent many minutes searching Google for an answer....
"android gmail batch delete"
"deleting multiple emails android gmail"
"deleting bulk emails on gmail"

I found lots of results but it was all to do with the removal of the check/select tick box that had previously allowed you to multiple select items and click the bin icon. Gmail changed the app to show the sender's photo/icon instead and removed the check box. :-( With that change selecting items was switched to the press and hold technique. Quite clunky for selecting multiple emails.

See some posts I found:

However I thought this morning how would I like to do it if I wanted and so I tried pressing many email items at the same time. I didn't get it quite right at first go but found it did work after a couple of attempts. So you can still multiple select with this press and hold technique but you just need to use more fingers and press and hold carefully. You can only press and hold the items in each screen view, then scroll and press and hold more to add to list of selected. I've not found a way to say "select all". Let me know if you do?

I posted to Facebook and here's what I said:
For you mobile Gmail users who need to delete multiple emails, you can swipe to delete each messages or press and hold to single delete via the bin icon. However if like me you want to delete multiple messages at times, I've just found that you can press and hold multiple messages at the same time. 

15 January 2014

VW Corrado heater fan speed 4 only issue

This is a blog post referencing an old Lineone webspace page I made ages ago. The reason I'm posting it up on my blog is I can't edit the old pages. Lineone was taken over many times and I can't re-activate the quigger webpages.

So if you have an issue with you heater blower (or fan) on a VW Corrado or VW Golf maybe the help pages below will allow you to sort it yourself.


Credit to original page: http://website.lineone.net/~quigger/heater.htm

Does you fan blower motor work on setting 4 only and not work on settings 1, 2 and 3?

[This could only be for up to '92 model years?] see note from Amit at end?

The motor is OK (although maybe a bit tired, see note at end). The resistor pack which controls the speed of the fan blower motor is also OK (quoted by others to be c. £60 to replace from VW).

heat01.jpg heat02.jpg

It's only a thermal fuse that has blown which is about 80 pence from Maplin or the like. (see point 9)

Repair Instructions:

The fan blower motor and the resistor pack/thermal fuse are located behind the passenger side knee shelf. Remove the three screws in the shelf and the two screws on the centre console.


Remove the shelf.


The fan blower motor and its casing are now easily seen.


The fan blower motor and casing can be removed to make access to the resistor pack easier. Unclip the black multi-connector block. Then the motor and casing just needs to be rotated slightly and dropped out. However you need to 'free' a little locating tab first.


Fan blower motor casing removed.


Once the fan motor and casing is removed, it is easy to locate the resistor pack. It is the shiny metal plate that the multi-connector was joined to. The resistor pack is removed from the casing by unclipping the tab at the top and swinging the plate out and down. Remove the two spade end connectors (remembering which side is which) and then free the resistor pack completely from the casing.


If you want you can remove the fan blower motor from its casing. The motor will likely be dusty and can be cleaned up. The state of the motor brushes can just about be seen but not very easily.


Once the resistor pack has been removed, the thermal fuse is the silver component with the white pointy end. It is crimped at one end and soldered at the other. Unsolder one end and cut the other end off nearest the crimp. Either 'crimp' a new thermal fuse or solder. See picture of badly soldered replacement fuse.


Pack of thermal fuses.


Replacement is a reverse of the removal procedure.


The fuse blown is a symptom but perhaps not the cause!
My car is a 92 and I think the motor is a bit tired/sluggish or has poor bushes and thus draws more current when the motor tries to run. Audible signs are squeaking and un-smooth running sounds. This could create a higher current draw, increasing the temp in the resistor pack and thus blowing the fuse?

Maplins have a 184-degree C breaking point thermal fuse (RA19V). Check this part number with them though as I sourced mine from work! I guess the carriage would be more than the cost at Maplins!

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Amit
To: Jason Hughes
Sent: Wednesday, November 06, 2002 10:18 AM

> Hi Jason,
> great write up mate. Very suprised it didn't make The sprinter.
> I had a similar prob with mine, fan only worked on speed 1 and 4. I 
> went out and bought the thermal fuse but before fitting it I was 
> recommended to take a look at my heater blower knob (its a '94 model 
> so has the rotary knob as oppose to the slider). 
> Under the knob there is a copper plate which rotates when the knob is 
> turned. Basically this copper plate had become loose over time and 
> was no longer completing the circuit. Very hard to explain without 
> visualising it, but when you see it its very easy. I coppergreased it 
> up and bent it slighty and it worked. Quite a few others have had 
> this problem too, might be an idea to make a note of this on the your 
> page.
> Cheers
> Amit

9 January 2014

Funny drunk UX (usability) testing

How funny can a drunk person be when doing a sensible bit of UX (usability) testing?

At work we are always trying to find the best way to code something onto a website or mobile page, and more importantly to make it easy to use by the user.

This video shows a drunk woman doing a usability tests of three branded websites when trying to buy some custom designed sneakers!

ENJOY.... like we did.


So I'm a money saving freak...

So I'm a money saving freak and my latest success is using the Martin Lewis' Money Saving Expert Tickety Split website/app.

Normally I pre-book my tickets well in advance but found that I couldn't get a good price for a ticket in January when trying to book before Christmas. :-(

I used the split your ticket app here:

Using this web.app today I managed to reduce my single ticket cost for Bristol to Clapham Junction down from £91 to £55 using split tickets. The lady on the ticket desk said they are allowed to do it when asked but they are not allowed to suggest it to customers.  :-(

So how did it work?
I got a train ticket from Bristol Parkway to Didcot Parkway and a second ticket from Didcot Parkway to Clapham Junction but obviously I stayed on the train.

Here is a screenshot of a tickety split search result page:

Please also note that it may not work on shorter journeys e.g. Oxford to London where there are no options to reduce/split.

Why not try it yourself and let me know how you got on?



8 January 2014

A day in a year

The first post: we shall see where this leads with my thoughts on the .......