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).

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(Published to the Fediverse as: Staying Chrome? #etc #chromebook #google Can I use a Chromebook for work? I'm blocked by the lack of comprehensive VPN support and the lack of a decent Skype client. )

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.

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(Published to the Fediverse as: Memo to future: How to reassemble Kate’s cot #etc #cot How to reassemble Kate’s cot, has been helpful at least twice, hoping not to need these instructions again though. )

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.

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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.

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(Published to the Fediverse as: Immature Gmail Exploit #etc #gmail How to get Gmail to say anything you want in the message list... )

Golden Gate

Updated on Saturday, October 1, 2022

Golden Gate

Panoramic photo of the Golden Gate, taken from Baker Beach in San Francisco.

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(Published to the Fediverse as: Golden Gate #photo #sanfrancisco #ggb Panoramic photo of the Golden Gate as seen from Baker Beach in San Francisco, California. )

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.

 

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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.

 

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Cloud

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Cloud

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

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(Published to the Fediverse as: Cloud #photo #cloud Photo of clouds spelling cloud (actually a cunning crop of a sky writing advert). )

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...

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(Published to the Fediverse as: Google Spreadsheets API and Column Names #etc #google #api #spreadsheet A 400 bad request from the Google Spreadsheets API may be caused by incorrect column names. How to fix. )

Autumnal Equinox 2013

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Autumnal Equinox 2013

It's the start of autumn in the northern hemisphere, spring if you live south of the equator. Rendered in Catfood Earth.

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(Published to the Fediverse as: Autumnal Equinox 2013 #code #earth #equinox The exact moment of Autumnal Equinox 2013 as rendered in Catfood Earth )