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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etc, cot

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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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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BBC Slams BA

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Might there actually be grounds to sue BA on the basis of a frequent flyer program that never lets you actually fly anywhere ever?

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017

Did you know? You can use your Avios to book hotel stays and car rental...

Well that’s good, as you sure as hell can’t use them for a flight:

There is no availability on British Airways for the displayed date range.

Previously…

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Comments Restored

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

I've restored all the comments that vanished after I removed Disqus last weekend. This is after a considerable effort to get everything out of BlogML and into WXR a couple of years ago. At some point I'll just have to give up and decide it's faster to write my own blogging and commenting system but for now Facebook Comments are enabled for all posts.

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Chiroopractoor

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Chiroopractoor

Google's use crime of a new compose window is going to become compulsory soon.

I suspect this is because it will soon be revealed that Google is rolling out a chain of high street Chiropractic facilities to treat the crick in everyone's neck from composing email in the bottom right hand corner of one's screen.

Either that or it's a bid for mobile dominance by forcing PC users to work in mobile screen sized portions of their screen until you just give up and use your phone.

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bye, bye, Miss Deprecated API

Updated on Saturday, May 22, 2021

bye, bye, Miss Deprecated API

After my horrible experience with Cleat last year I'm finally pulling the plug on my remaining Twitter API projects. Twitter is switching off their v1 API soon and I'm still so sick of it that I'm not even going to upgrade existing products. If you used Follower then I'm sorry. If you liked my Twitter public timeline screensaver then you're odd, but I'm still sorry. I'll still tweet, I'm just staying clear of the API.

(Image is Fail Whale Pale Ale by Brian Cook.)

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I can't post a single photo

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

I can't post a single photo

You'd think Facebook or Twitter could scrape together a semi-functional Android client but apparently not.

Twitter has some size limit for photo uploads. In a sane world the client would resize a photo that was too large and just get on with it. Table stakes would be an error message. But no, it pretends everything is just peachy and then fails to upload. To post a photo to Twitter I have to remember to go into the camera settings and ratchet down the megapixels which I remember to do about never. 

Facebook used to work occasionally but now just dumps an ugly immobile progress bar that won't go away until I reboot the phone. 

Google+ probably works fine technically but if a photo is uploaded to a forest and there is nobody there to see it is that still in any sense counted as success?

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Going Chrome

Updated on Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Going Chrome

I came to Chrome OS by a circuitous route. Initially I though a browser in a box was a silly, under-powered toy. But then I needed a meeting machine for work.

To start with I decided to use an old Macbook. It was running OSX 10.5 (Leopard) which is a bit out of date so I thought I'd update it to the latest 10.8 (Mountain Lion) goodness. But this turned out to be impossible to do from my desk. Before I could go to 10.8 I'd have to get physical media for 10.6 (Snow Leopard) and patch it up to the point where it would accept an upgrade. This meant shipping a disc or visiting an Apple Store and getting smarmed at. Unacceptable.

So I decided to ditch OSX and install Windows 8. This was a cheap online purchase and a painless install... but Windows 8 is a disaster on a non-touch device. Everything takes an extra few clicks or a half-mile scroll to the right. 

Live tiles seem like a good idea until you realize that you're not looking at the start screen often enough for them to be of any value. If Microsoft had introduced a permanent ticker at the bottom of the screen or a secondary tile screen on all Windows 8 certified devices life could have been more interesting. 

Removing the start button so you have to go into touch and swipe mode to do anything is a pain. A boot to desktop mode would be great for older devices.

The deal breaker though is the increasingly assertive Windows Update. Twice in meetings it decided to reboot the computer. It used to be you could delay updates for hours but Windows 8 just knows that the latest patch is more important that whatever you happen to be working on and cheerfully pulls the plug. 

Admittedly you can figure out how to find the vestigial, non-Windows 8 config for Windows 8 and go to manual mode. And then figure out how to turn off the nagging for not having the recommended Windows Update setting. But but by this point you realize that you've got a operating system that is about updates first and getting work done second. And Windows 8 Windows Update doesn't even update Windows Store apps so you've got a live tile nagging for updates every five seconds as well. 

On top on the Windows 8 horror the Macbook was old, heavy and had a puny battery. Also, after installing Windows 8 the only software I needed to install was Chrome and the office VPN client. Once this sunk in I ordered the new Samsung Chromebook.  

Setup on the Chromebook is: 1. Login to your Google Account (with support for two-factor authentication), 2. Choose a wallpaper (optional). 

I'm not likely to use a Chromebook as my primary machine any time soon. It is however a meeting powerhouse for email, IMs, calendar and note taking. I replaced Skype with imo.im (which I've used on Android for a while). Full Outlook web access took a bit of head scratching - see this post for details. Google Apps and Hangouts work seamlessly as you'd expect. It's light and the battery lasts all day.

The only niggle so far is that Chrome OS doesn't support the flavor of VPN that my company uses. It would be nice to get to the wiki, but it's not a deal breaker (If you have a Cisco VPN that insists on a group name go vote for this bug). 

Microsoft and Apple should be really rather worried.

Updated 2013-07-17 13:54:

Two quick updates.

Providing a group name to use with Cisco VPN devices was added in Chrome 28. Unfortunately it still doesn't work for me. I've filed issue 261241 on the chromium bug tracker for this - you can star this issue if you have the same problem.

Skype has managed to block Imo.im so that no longer works for Skype on a Chromebook. I'm using IM+ for now, but it's not nearly as good - it doesn't remember passwords and it keeps silently losing connectivity so it's easy to miss chats.

(Read the full Chromebook adventure: Part 1: Going Chrome, Part 2: Staying Chrome? and Part 3: Leaving Chrome)

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