Archive for August, 2011

Heat Map Theme Upgrade

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Heatmap ThemeFor the two of you out there who are looking at this blog, you might be thinking “Whoa, where did the dog with the iPhone 4 go?”

Well, it turns out that I can design the most visually spectacular web site themes in existence, but not the most SEO and Ad friendly themes. So with that in mind, tonight I have purchased Stuart Wider’s ass kicking Heat Map Theme.

Stuart, you had me at “23 Widget Positions”.

Heat Map WordPress ThemePlease excuse the mess whilst I renovate. It’s business as usual though!

And if your 40 Years old, and a geek, you will love this! Otherwise, just dis-regard, you had to be there (the 80’s that is)

Prince 23 Positions

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Posted by Greg - August 27, 2011 at 11:14 pm

Categories: Web, Word Press   Tags: , , , , , , ,

Reclaiming space on a iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad

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iPhone Capacity StatsMy iPhone/iTunes has been bugging me for a while now about how my phone is running out of memory, and it won’t let me load more music, or take new photographs or video. My first instinct was that I should clean house, and move some photos or songs off it, and whilst it was plugged in to my Mac I noticed something interesting in the storage capacity stats window:

iPhone Capacity Stats1.03 GB of Other? I would much rather have an extra GB of music and photos than a GB of “Other”! So, I did a little bit of research and it looks to me that “other” is stuff like contacts, calendars and emails etc, so no joy to be had there,  but it is also log files, history, cache, and other gunk that is meaningless to most users. There were also reports in the Apple forums that you can reclaim “some” of that space with a full system restore. So I thought I would give it a try!

I started by making a full backup of my phone. Once my iPhone was plugged in to my computer, and it showed up in iTunes, I right clicked on it and selected “Backup” from the menu. It took a few minutes to copy everything over.

Select Back Up from MenuOnce that was all done, I went to the “Summary” window and clicked the “Restore” button.

ITunes Restore ButtonAfter clicking the usual procession of Ok’s, Yes Please’s, and I Understand’s, it set about completely wiping my iPhone.

Restoring iPhone WindowOnce it had erased the memory, it began uploading the 4.3.5 software installation, powered on and off a few times, and then I got asked if I wanted to restore my phone from the back up I created, or if I wanted to start my phone from fresh again. I clicked “Restore from Back Up” so it would reinstall my apps, contacts, music etc etc and off it went again It did take some time to completely erase, and re-install the software and my files and info (about 15-20 minutes), but it was well worth it!

Reclaimed MemoryMy iPhone went from 1.03GB of “Other” down to 0.24GB of “Other”! That’s nearly 800KB of “Other” that can now be used for photos and music!

Woo-Hoo!

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Posted by Greg - August 23, 2011 at 9:15 pm

Categories: Tech, iPhone/iPod/iPad   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

R2 Studios Startup Delayer for Windows

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Startup DelayerIsn’t it nice when something just works! I have recently moved house, and in my previous home I had a very elaborate security system which included infra red video cameras with motion detection (so I know when the Feds/Aliens are trying to sneak up on me to steal my brain waves). In actual fact, the cams were simply so my wife and I could check in on our doggies whilst we were out, night or day. I set up a web server for my cam feeds, and we can see the dogs on our iPhones (pretty cool, and VERY easy to do – will post article soon). The problems is though, I haven’t had a chance to recreate this monster system in our new house, but we still want to be able to see the pups.

I managed to find the XP based computer (the heart of the security system) in amongst all of the moving madness, and plugged in a few cams to get something going. A real bonus in our old house was that the walls were just filled with Ethernet cable going in every direction, it was quiet a work of art actually. Sadly, Not so much in the new place. So to get connected quickly I plugged in a Netcomm NP900n wireless dongle I have, and the machine was connected quickly and easily. I reconfigured my web server with the my new I.P  and other info regarding my new internet connection, and with an average amount of fuss (to be expected when dealing with all matters tech) we were able to spy on our doggies from anywhere in the world again. Feeling very pleased with myself, and my superior knowledge of port forwarding and other gunk most people don’t even know exists, I ran disk clean up, defragged, and went through my regular “Window Cleaning” routine. Now, I have the computer set to “Auto Reboot on Power Failure” in bios, and my video cam server program shortcut is in “Start Up Items”, so if there is a power failure, the machine restarts and my servers run up the moment the power is restored. After my maintenance routine completed, I chose to “restart” the computer, as you do. Here is where the fun starts.

When this machine was using a wired connection, the Gigabit network connection was up immediately on start up, the internet connection was available to the web server when it was launched, so it began serving up the CCTV feed with no problems. I have learned this week, that it takes a lot longer for a wireless connection to handshake and initialise.  When programs start with windows, they are often ready to go before the wireless internet connection. If the connection isn’t present when they are ready to go, they assume there isn’t a connection, will never be a connection, and don’t go looking for one at regular intervals. That is the shortened version of what really happened, with all of the profanity removed:)

Armed with this new knowledge I turned to Google and searched for “start up delay”. The first result was R2 Studios Startup Delayer. I downloaded it, installed it, told it that I wanted it to start my web server 5 minutes after the machine starts…………AND IT DID! No questions asked! I just love it when this stuff happens, as it just doesn’t usually happen at all these days.

This program has a free and a paid version, both of which do far more than I require in this instance, but I will delve in deeper and do a more concise review in a later post. It was a very easy install. It requires Dot Net 2 (free from Microsoft, and installed automatically if you don’t already have it), and once installed, it is just a matter of telling it what programs and processes you want it to start, and when you want it to start them. It is so easy to use!

Startup Delayer Screen Capture

Now, you might be thinking “I don’t have webcams” or “My internet connection is wired”, and you think you may not have a use for this program. But what you really need to think about here, is that when windows boots, almost EVERY program you have on your computer is not only using up your CPU starting up, but it is also phoning home to validate, looking for updates, your antivirus and anti spyware is looking for updates, Microsoft/Windows Updates is checking to see whats going on, and dozens of other “services” you don’t even realise are running on your computer are ALL trying to get started, and get on the internet at the same time.

BOTTLENECK!

Have you ever wanted to just turn on your computer and check your email, or Google something real quick and then shut off? Maybe you want to spend 3-5 minutes on your computer to look at something, or find an answer, but your computer takes 3-5 minutes to even become useable because it is Soooo Slooow when it starts up. Maybe you want to be on your computer all day, but you would just like to be able to use it in less 10 HOURS OF TURNING IT ON!!!

Wouldn’t it be good if you could tell ALL of those other offending programs and services to wait a while before they do their business? Maybe even stagger them so instead of them all trying to start up at once, they do it one at a time in an orderly manner?…………Now your getting it!

Go check this program out – You NEED this! R2 Studios Startup Delayer.

The free version will do pretty much everything you want, but I will be buying the pro version anyway (only $20) because I believe these people deserve a little something for their efforts, it really is a great piece of software!

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Posted by Greg - August 19, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Categories: Free Stuff, Gregs Rants, Networking, Software Encounters, Tech, Windows and PC   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Unhappy Canadian in Melbourne

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Unhappy Canadian in MelbourneI saw this guy on the freeway today and couldn’t stop laughing. He’s obviously not happy about leaving Canada for Melbourne, and isn’t enjoying the local hospitality.

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Posted by Greg - August 12, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Categories: Humour   Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Bringing back the Icon Size Slider in OSX Lion

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Mac Icon Size SliderBeing a web designer, graphic artist, and a photographer, well you could say I use my mac to deal with images quiet a lot. I estimate that in my “Resources” folder on my server (made up of stock photos and graphics) and my own photograph collection, I have around 100,000 images. When I need to find a texture, or a stock photo to suit a specific purpose, I may need to browse through a folder with up to a 1000 images in it. The great thing about having a 30″ monitor is that you can open the folder up, fill the screen and see a lot of the files quickly. My FAVORITE thing in Snow Leopard was the icon size slider. Just by dragging the slider located at the bottom right of every folder view left or right, you could make icons small to fit more on screen for faster browsing, and when you think you found what you need, you could drag it up to enlarge the icon for a closer look. It was GREAT!

One of the first things to piss me of in Lion was that the slider is gone. (Literally, It only took me about 3 mins to notice it missing).

Grrrr!!!In search of a solution, I found a icon slider in the “View Options”, but this meant each time I need to change icon sizes I had to open another window, and it was a real pain.

Today, I stumbled upon the solution – The slider is still there in Lion (YAY!), but it is just turned off by default (BOO!). To turn it back on, click any blank area on your desktop to select the finder, then open the View menu, slide down and select/check “Show Status Bar”

Show Status BarIt seems a bit ambiguous when you are looking for the icon size slider to have to select “Show Status Bar” to bring it back, but at least it is still there!Icon Size SliderAnother cool feature available in this view menu, is to select/check “Show Path Bar”. Once it is checked, you see a “breadcrumbs” style path to where your file is. Very Handy!

Show Path

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Posted by Greg - August 12, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Categories: Gregs Rants, Mac, Tech   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mac OSX Lion broke my Gigabit Network!

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Network CablesI have just been trying to shift some large files around my home network, and found the transfer speeds to be down on what I am used to.So I set about finding out what the problem was. I started by opening the system preferences, and clicked the Network icon.Gigabit Screen Capture 1In the left side window I had to highlight the connected Ethernet port (the one with the green circle next to it), as my machine has two ports, and the one that wasn’t connected was selected when I opened the window as shown below. Once I selected the connected port, I clicked the Advanced button to open up all the good stuff.

Gigabit Screen Capture 2From here, I clicked the Hardware button to see what was going on. As expected, my machine had auto-negotiated a 100MBPS connection, instead of the much faster 1000MBPS Gigabit connection I have come to love so much.Gigabit Screen Capture 3So once I changed Automatic, to Manual, and selected 1000MBPS with Full Duplex, flow control, and set my MTU to Jumbo 9000 (Where it has always been), I saved the settings, rebooted and was ready to enjoy my super-fast network!

Lion Gigabit
Wrong-GraphicHuh? What? Why? – Then the expletives came! Why wasn’t my Gigabit connection working? – I went back in and found the Green circle was gone – Replaced with a very unattractive and disheartening RED circle! A desperate flurry of disconnections, reconnection and more expletives occurred. Sitting helplessly on the floor next to my Gigabit switch, head in hands, my attention was drawn to the pretty color cables…….

Cables

CablesThis post is dedicated to that gorgeous yellow ethernet cable. Oh yellow ethernet cable, how I love you! It turns out that for some reason, Lion doesnt recognise the 33 miles of blue Cat 5(e) cable I have running around the house as Gigabit capable like Snow Leopard used to! I removed the blue cable, and plugged a black CAT 6 cable I had (Which I never really understood why it was different until today) and beautiful Green lights lit up everywhere! In my connections window, on the switch, it was SUCH a relief!

After a bit of Googling, I learned quiet a few people are having this problem, and not all cables are created equal.

The short solution to the problem is change your cables to Cat 6, and for the reason why (if you are interested in the nuts and bolts) can be found in THIS article on Answers.com.

 

**UPDATE**

22OCT11 – Apple appear to have rectified this issue in the latest update to OSX Lion (10.7.2) – I have been using my Macbook Pro at Gigabit speed using blue cat 5 cable for a few days now. Can anybody else confirm?

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Posted by Greg - August 11, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Categories: Mac, Networking, Tech   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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