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 .......