I really want to just blame Boehner...

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

I really want to just blame Boehner...

...but if you can't keep a Government open the consequence should be an election and not a stalemate.

(Related: 2021 California Gubernatorial Recall; Bredo; Episode Four)

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Staying Chrome?

Updated on Saturday, February 12, 2022

Staying Chrome?

I've been using my Samsung Chromebook at work for around ten months now. It's not my main computer but it's a meeting survival powerhouse for email, instant messaging and note taking. The battery lasts approximately forever, it boots immediately and the decent keyboard and trackpad are just miles ahead of fumbling around on a tablet.

There are two problems for me with the Chrome universe. One will probably get fixed, one could be a deal breaker.

The first issue is VPN support. Apparently we use some sort of old, fiddly Cisco VPN that ChromeOS simply won't talk to. I filed Issue 261241 in the Chromium bug tracker and hopefully it will get fixed soon. If you're struggling with the same thing please star the bug report.

I can work around the VPN problem by using LogMeIn or Chrome Remote Desktop. But I can't live long without Skype. Actually I'd be perfectly happy to never use Skype again but my company runs on about fifty thousand Skype chats. I used Imo.IM for a while but they were forced to drop Skype support. Right now I'm using IM+ which as far as I'm aware is the only working Skype option for a Chromebook (please tell me if I'm wrong) but it's buggy and can't restore a connection between sessions. I either need to find a way to kill Skype at work or wait for (or write) a better web-only client.

Probably worth sticking it out, Gartner reports a 8.6% fall in PC sales but predicts Chromebooks growing to over 12 million units by 2016.

(Image by he4rtofcourage, CC).

Read the full Chromebook Adventure

(All Etc Posts)

Memo to future: How to reassemble Kate’s cot

Updated on Monday, May 24, 2021

cot-step1

The long bolts with plastic washers attach to the head and foot of the cot (1). These are easier to screw in using a drill with a hex bit. Put the four smallest bolts through the holes (2) before attaching the sides or you’ll be taking the sides off again. These will be used to attach the mattress spring.

cot-step2

Cams go in the head and foot (1), smallest bolts as described above (2).

cot-step3

Now just attach the sides with the medium bolts and then the mattress spring using the wing nuts.

cot-step4

Missing one of the medium bolts? It’s in this bag somewhere. When asking Kate to help by putting bolts in a bag remember to be very, very specific about which bag next time. The rest of the hardware is in a Ziploc in a side pocket.

(Related: 3D Printing a 72-58mm step down Camera Filter Adapter; Long term solar powered time lapse camera using Arduino; Windows 11 Broken Notifications)

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etc, cot

Catfood Earth 3.20

Updated on Monday, May 31, 2021

Catfood Earth 3.20

Catfood Earth 3.20 for Windows is now available for download. This update fixes a change in the feed address for the earthquakes layer. I've also switched to using the new NASA Black Marble night-time image and 3.20 includes the latest time zone and political border data.

Earth for Android has been updated to 1.30. This includes the new Black Marble image.

(Related: Catfood Earth; Improving the accuracy of the new Catfood Earth clouds layer; Animation of a year of Global Cloud Cover)

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Immature Gmail Exploit

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Immature Gmail Exploit

The Gmail Android client helpfully puts the first letter of the name of the person who emailed you in a big block at the left of the mail list (I guess if you have Google Plus friends you probably get a photo instead). But it's pretty easy to change the from name in your email client and trivial to do this programmatically.

Tips... spell your message backwards and use a different subject line for each email so they don't get grouped together.

(Related: Google Inbox Account Switching; Is it safe to open securedoc.html (Cisco Registered Envelope)?; Top 5 reasons to hate the Facebook like button)

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Golden Gate

Updated on Sunday, May 3, 2020

Book reviews for September 2013

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017
Dust (Silo, #3) by Hugh Howey

Dust (Silo, #3) by Hugh Howey

5/5

The best new SF series in quite some time draws to an end. Sad to see it go, can't wait to see what Hugh Howey comes up with next.

 

Brilliance by Marcus Sakey

Brilliance by Marcus Sakey

4/5

Understated X-Men shenanigans in thriller format.

 

(Related: Go-arounds: LEGO and Legislative Service; Kindle: Figure out sorting!; #Resist)

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(All Book Reviews)

Book reviews for September 2013

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017
Dust (Silo, #3) by Hugh Howey

Dust (Silo, #3) by Hugh Howey

5/5

The best new SF series in quite some time draws to an end. Sad to see it go, can't wait to see what Hugh Howey comes up with next.

 

Brilliance by Marcus Sakey

Brilliance by Marcus Sakey

4/5

Understated X-Men shenanigans in thriller format.

 

(Related: Go-arounds: LEGO and Legislative Service; Kindle: Figure out sorting!; #Resist)

(You might also like: Golden Gate; Catfood Software Support; San Francisco November 2016 Propositions)

(All Book Reviews)

Cloud

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Cloud

Photo of clouds spelling cloud (actually a cunning crop of a sky writing advert).

(Related: Clouds Over The Farallones; Clouds; Daily Average Global Cloud Cover Animation)

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(Recent Photos)

Google Spreadsheets API and Column Names

Updated on Sunday, May 2, 2021

Google Spreadsheets API and Column Names

I had a play with the Google Spreadsheets API recently to feed in some data from a C# application. The getting started guide is great and I was authenticated and adding dummy data in no time. But as soon as I started to work with real data I got:

"The remote server returned an error: (400) Bad Request."

And digging deeper into the response:

"We're sorry, a server error occurred. Please wait a bit and try reloading your spreadsheet."

The original sample code still worked so it didn't seem like any sort of temporary glitch as the message suggests. After much hair torn it turns out I was getting this error because I had used the literal column names from my spreadsheet. The API expects them to be lower case with spaces removed. If not columns match you get the unhelpful error above, if at least one column matches you get a successful insert with some missing data.

Error messages are one of the hardest parts of an API to get right. If you're not very detailed then what seems obvious to you can leave your developers stumped.

Hope this helps someone else...

(Related: Export Google Fit Daily Steps, Weight and Distance to a Google Sheet; Automate Google PageSpeed Insights and Core Web Vitals Logging with Apps Script; Monitor page index status with Google Sheets, Apps Script and the Google Search Console API)

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I Thought He Came With You is Robert Ellison's blog.

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