Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Dixons – where not to buy cables. - September 29th, 2010

I had the joy of walking into Dixons the other day, wanting to pick up some cheap (but mid-range) headphones for work.

The Panasonic model came in at a very reasonable price and was far exceeded in quality.

While I was there, I figured I could try and resolve my HDMI lead issue (see my previous entry regarding Ebuyer) – but never actually got to purchasing one as I nearly threw up at the sight.

That’s their official site. Those are the official prices. That’s reflective of what they had in the shop.

It’s absolutely daylight robbery. In my opinion, there should be some law against it. £99.99 for an HDMI lead. No doubt the staff in the shop would tell you “it’s extra high quality, so that digital signal won’t degrade”.

It’s a digital signal! It doesn’t degrade! It either works or doesn’t.

The other prices are just as bad. £15 ought to be more than enough for anything measuring around 3m.

If you’re reading this via my blog, or even Facebook, please for the love of me, do not pay these prices for your cables. No matter what the shop staff try to flog you.

Google uses CSS sprites - September 23rd, 2010

No surprise really, today I by complete accident (lol) discovered Google makes quite heavy use of CSS sprites.

The image on the right shows the sprite as used by Google. You can see it for yourself, by searching on Google and observing the smaller “Google” logo at the top left of the screen.

Probably something I should investigate for our home page at work.  🙁

So much to do, such little time!

ADSL woes - September 17th, 2010


Ah, PlusNet have finally resumed the normal service of sweet ADSL goodness which I’ve always known and loved.

Following my earlier rant, some guys at PlusNet really pulled their fingers out and got straight on the issue – from Saturday night to Sunday evening, 3 phone calls covered the lot – getting a BT engineer to my exchange by 11.00 this morning.  (Woha, BT did something promptly!)

Turns out (as I suspected) – there was a fault up at the Exchange, my ADSL “hadn’t been connected”.

I’ve no idea who’s “fault” this is … I’m guessing BT Wholesale.  Either way, the job is now complete (at last), and I’m enjoying a respectable 5.5Mb/s.  iPlayer time!

Oh no, wait.  There’s more.  Ebuyer send me a 30cm – “3m” HDMI cable.  Guess I’ll be ringing them up tomorrow to find out where the remaining 270cm went … *sigh* 🙂


So if it’s not bad enough that I was stung with an unexpected reconnection charge, and have now had no ADSL connectivity for over a week, I have to say that as an ex-3rd line support engineer for an otherwise quite technologically successful start up broadband aggregation service provider (thus dealing with ADSL issues on an hour by hour basis – not to mention having diagnosed both a faulty network cable at another ISP with nothing but ICMP ping and a knowledge of full-duplex ethernet and the leaky roof in a BT exchange around outer London) – Oh yes, PlusNet really rub salt in the wound by suggesting that it might help if I try “turning it off and on again”.


If you think the rant hasn’t already started, then buckle your seatbelt and put your head between your legs.

I’m not being funny, *but*, when I’ve already explained across 3 support tickets that I’ve tried every tick in the book – and finally by pointing out my own personal knowledge and expertise goes a little further that of 1st and even most 2nd line ISP engineers – I can’t help but feel I’m possibly being slightly insulted when for the 4th or 5th time I’m being asked to check the cables and to try switching the ADSL filter out. Again.

You know, I mean I’ve already done it 3 times, and told them so! I even tried it *several* times *before* contacting them!

How many times can I go around this loop?!

I’ve unplugged everything, I have checked all my hardware on another ADSL line, I’ve had the master socket off the wall, I’ve ran custom firmware to adjust the SNR threshold. I’ve even (because I know I’m only human) had someone else check over my checking over!

For flips sake.


Please PlusNet, just admit there might be a hardware fault outside my house and send someone over to take a look.

Before I hang myself with this convincingly fine “grey cable which connects the modem to the wall”.

Traffic light safety feature - August 19th, 2010

While driving home yesterday, I encountered a large round-about on the edge of Bury (where the A14 slip roads converge), where the lights were literally offline.

Confusion seemed to be reigning. Nobody knew what to do. Some people just pulled out blindly – treating it as though the lights were “on green”. Others simply waited, treating the lights as red.

I simply treated the roundabout as a normal round-about, giving way to the right.

It was at this point that it occurred to me – maybe the highway authorities should consider installing electromagnetic (or some such other electro-mechanical device) signs (gravity/spring loaded) stating “Malfunctioning Lights – GIVE WAY”.

When the lights are powered and functional, an electromagnet keeps the sign “closed” (hidden). Otherwise it’s revealed.

MySQL documentation fail? - August 12th, 2010

Is this a fail or what? I invite you to take a short glance over the MySQL replication documentation – notably this page here:

Observe. The second bullet point clearly states (explicitly) that the local timezones do not have any effect on how the NOW() function is replicated. The timestamp returned by NOW() is stored in the binary log, and sent to the slave. The slave’s local timezone is ignored.

Now, I invite you to observe this page of documentation here:

What’s that we read there? I quote:

“The same system time zone should be set for both master and slave. Otherwise, statements depending on the local time on the master are not replicated properly, such as statements that use the NOW() or FROM_UNIXTIME() functions.”

Ah, that’d be a no then.

Guess that would explain our issues today 😉

Camp day 1 - July 24th, 2010

Aye, so the peeps turned up, network coverage is at a minimum, but the weather is good (praise the Lord). Thank you to all those who baked cakes, the chocolate digestive was superb – thanks Elane!

Hopefully the campfire pic uploads, hello to all you from East Dean!

Covies camp 2010 - July 24th, 2010

Jumping on the band wagon of all things gadgety, I’ve grabbed myself the WordPress for Android app. Fear this technological stuff!

So on the way down here… (the only thing I have to comment on so far), I really wish people would learn to drive! From the lane hangers to the woman in the Mercedes (which make her excempt from all laws governing the roads), please, buck you attitudes up!

Over taking the army truck with no doors (at speed) on the M25 was a tad scary too!

And did anyone notice issues with GPS past night? Only for about 10th minutes both my satnav and phone lost all signal. By the way most other drivers started slowing up and moving into the slow lane, I’m guessing they experienced it too.

Well anyway, sunshine here … time to wash 🙂

Henry Olonga visits Isleham - July 20th, 2010

We were recently graced with a visit from Henry and Tara Olonga, preaching and singing at our outreach event for 2010.

I cannot thank Henry and Tara enough, their dedication to the gospel – their confidence to preach Christ and Him crucified, sin and Hell.

I was fortunate enough to find opportunity to take some photos during some of the events.  Below a couple of favourites, the others as always can be viewed on flickr:



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The Prom - July 5th, 2010

I had the privilege of observing the Soham Village College Prom (2010) last week.  It was a highly overcast day (ISO800 on the camera to even have a chance) and due to my distance from the attendees, most of my photos came out “blurry” to say the least.

But some came out OK.  There’s nothing there I’d say I’m particularly proud of, but they’re “good enough”.  They are photos of other people, so please respect their rights and privacy if you choose to download them or have them printed or whatever.

If you were one of the guys or gals unfortunate enough to have me photograph you, let me know – FaceBook or my blog.  If you want prints, it can be arranged.

(Please note, I have limited bandwidth on my server – it may take some time to load!  Full set can be viewed nice and fast at

One of many close-ups The sister-in-law looking her best. Another two randomers.Group shot.

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The past, present and future - June 23rd, 2010

Well, things have finally moved on.

Apparently somewhere, myself and Wonga were trying to meet half way, and consistently missing.  But fortunately that’s no longer the case.

You’ll see the blog entry originally outlining my issues has now been removed, hidden from the prying eyes of Google and those who clearly want nothing more than to flame (which I will mention in a moment).

To the guys at Wonga, thank-you for finally sorting this out.  Thank-you for taking on board what I had to say (politely, and in no way aggressively) regarding your customer services, and thank-you for the personal assurance that everything is now resolved.

If you are the unfortunate victim of fraud through Wonga (through, as in “by means of using Wonga maliciously”) – then keep hope.  I’ve witnessed that they do respond, it’s just perhaps not yet quite as easy as it should be.

Hopefully this is now the close of the chapter, and the start of a new one.  A huge stress of my mind, and something to be vigilant about in the future.