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Archive for April, 2013

A very pleasant day

I travelled down to London yesterday for the Internet show in Earl’s court. Long overdue for catching up with the latest due to being bogged down with work most of the time, I took a member of my committee along with me to go see what’s new and hopefully bring home some new ideas.

Peter Scargill travelling to Aldgate EastWe started the trip last night at Brick Lane in London  -the weather there right now is fabulous – I took the tube from Victoria to Aldgate East and walked the rest of the way with thanks to Google maps on the phone. I met up with the guys at a pub called the Princess Alice where we had a couple of beers before heading off to Brick Lane and the myriad of Indian restaurants therein.

We usually end up at the same place and so it was that we got our free beer, free starters and 20% off – it takes no bartering at all to get this. Cracking night with a fellow techie.

This morning we were up sharpish and off down from our hotel in Victoria – the Double Tree in Bridge Place,  to head off on the tube to the event.

Peter Scargill at Internet World in Earls Court 2Internet World was not as big as I’d hoped – some day I must go to one of those shows in Europe – we managed to get through it in the morning rather than the whole day but in the process, met some good contacts, I certainly gained some great ideas and generally got up to speed with what’s out there. As well as business-oriented stands the people from “The Internet of Things” were there with some fabulous Internet-connected toys.

That left only one thing to do – get back to the office in Victoria… grab some kit and head off home. As we were sitting in Earls Court having a bite to eat for lunch – and being as it was a lovely day, having no idea of distances I suggested a walk to the Thames – and that became the start of a nearly 4 mile walk along the Thames and back up to Victoria – for which I am now Peter Scargill and David Miles visit Internet Worldsuffering.

On the way back I had to walk through the Centre for Life in Newcastle and there was a big sign up advertising Maker Faire this weekend which is all about robots, 3d printing machines and other interesting stuff so I’m sure we’ll end up there at the weekend… but first there’s the slight matter of the Iron Man 3 movie!

 

Peter Scargill visiting the Centre for Life in Newcastle

Bejewelled Blitz–Tactics

Bejewelled BlitzI’m often asked how I manage high scores every now and then on Bejewelled Blitz on Facebook. For those not in the know, this is a great game that takes exactly one minute to play – and is your classic colour matching game.

So here’s the deal. Always get your daily spin. You might get a lot of points out of it – and in order to take advantage of some of the best offers you need at least 25,000 points. Best to have 30,000 points. Don’t waste them.

Bejewelled BlitzIf you see any MESSAGES – read them – they might be free points. It’ll be obvious if there are messages as a number will come up over the “messages” icon on the left here.

Sometimes I grab the centre boost – which allows you to scramble the gems a couple of times a game. If you get part through a game and you are struggling to find matching sets…. either use this to give you a fresh start – or frankly scrap the game – you really cannot get a decent score if you end up sitting looking at the game – wasting your time – you should be constantly moving gems throughout the game and if you’re not – you’re not going to get a high score.

Bejewelled BlitzTry to make sets of 4 gems. Often you have a chance to make one of several moves- make sure you don’t miss a possible set of 4.

Bejewelled BlitzAt the end of some games you will see all sorts of offers as on the right here – the only one I take is the cat’s eye and only when it’s on offer at 25,000 points or LESS – it does vary!

Don’t forget – when offered – claim those rewards…. and if you’re having a bad day, GIVE UP – your concentration is gone – save up the points and remember that dBejewelled Blitzaily spin.

At the end you see a game that’s not gone badly – the score is 114,000 – had I had a Cat’s eye at the end of that, it’s possible the final score would be at least double – sadly on this occasion I don’t  – but it is easily possible to exceed 200,000 without any of that stuff. It just helps.

Bejewelled BlitzAll trivial stuff – it’s just a game – but it is quite addictive – something I put down to the music and the great motivating voice!

Have fun. Regards  – Peter Scargill.

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A Sunny Weekend in Wark and Google+ Business Pages

solar lightsIt’s amazing what a spot of sunshine can do… solar lights that have been in hibernation for months suddenly spring to life… the lamp on the right hasn’t been this bright since it came out of the box. In reality it’s so good it’s almost worth drilling a little hole through the corner of the window to put it’s solar panel outside.

Meanwhile a whole army of external solar lights are out there being tested – we’re planning on moving in the not too distant future and I’m only taking lights that work perfectly – the rest are going in the bin – so they’re all on trial right now. Meanwhile my own design is sitting languishing in my office as the controller which is supposed to stop the batteries getting flat isn’t quite doing the job. I’ve had so much to do recently it’s on the back-boiler for now.

solar lightsAfter a busy week which saw me once again over in Blackpool (and I must say quite enjoying the meetings I either attended or ran) but I’ve a few days at home to catch up. I came back to find that some mangy feral cat had managed to get past our magnetic cat-flap, into tmpB1A9the bedroom and sprayed the bed cover – that’s currently in the queue at the dry-cleaners at a whopping £27 to sort out – I had no idea they charged that much! 

Said cat is now on my hit-list though how I’m going to capture him is another matter – he’s way too quick for me.

Meanwhile I’ve been tackling a thorny problem with Google+

Google have been trying to muscle in on Facebook for some time now and they’ve brought together their Google+ product along with Google Web albums and others all into the one place. And that’s great – you have a profile just as you do with Facebook – but unlike the latter, Google have not quite gotten their act together yet. Facebook is about people, not companies- so if you want to promote your company or product you need to create a Facebook PAGE with it’s own photos, discussions etc… 

Google have done the same thing but not quite finished it off yet. The problem is with photos – one of the finest tools you can get for handling online photos is the free Picasa – which lets you put your pictures into albums – edit them and sync them to the web – in fact it’s such a good combination that it works really well – except…   Picasa won’t even look at Google Business Pages – it does not even know they exist. Which is fine unless you happen to have put hundreds or thousands of photos into your profile account before realising they are in the wrong place. If you’re looking for a way to do this – forget it – here’s what I ended up doing.

I downloaded all the albums, via Picasa to my PC. Right now the only way to get them into the Business pages account is then to go to that account – and upload the albums one at a time via the web interface. TRUST me – at the time of writing that’s the only way to do it. If you’re planning a Google+ Business page  – take my advice – leave the profile well alone – put nothing in it and do EVERYTHING in the Business page – even though the tools are not yet there – much easier than the hours I spent moving the stuff after the event!

Ultimately one assumes Google will get their act together some day (just like some day they’ll add bandwidth throttling to the otherwise excellent Google Drive which right now sucks the life out of your PC whenever it starts backing things up).

Technology

Don’t you just love technology – especially when it goes wrong.

Some time ago now, having discovered that Google Alerts doesn’t really work that well any more – probably due to Google getting rid of the Google Reader…. I switched to another program – and cancelled Alerts I had in my name (they kept getting it wrong anyway and giving me alerts for another Peter Scargill – a racing reporter)…

Unwanted Google AlertSo this morning – despite scrapping the lot, this alert came in… I thought for a moment that I may have forgotten to cancel this one – so looking in the email, there’s a link that says “Manage your alerts”. I clicked on the link and sure enough….

Dumb Google Alerts warning

 

 

As if that wasn’t a bad enough start, I noted that my sister Mary had taken a photo of my wife Maureen and put it on Facebook – Maureen is over in the states at the moment on holiday..  I went to the photo, clicked on Maureen’s face and tagged it with her name. What do I get in the email?

Even dumber Facebook message

Erm, sorry, WHAT? No she didn’t !! And the thing is there’s not much you can do when this stuff goes wrong.

 

While I’m on – you may have seen me getting excited about Pokki – which at last appears to be a way to get a Windows START button onto Windows 8 and get rid of the pesky swipe actions which make using the trackpad almost impossible on a no-touch-screen tablet (i.e. the majority of them). Well, I checked and they do a Windows 7 version – with another piece of free software called Start Killer, you can delete the Windows ORB…. and now it’s not necessary to run Rocketdock to get the shortcuts. This is so intuitive it makes you wonder why Microsoft didn’t do this…

Replacement for the Windows OrbOk it’s not as pretty as the ORB but it’s a hell of a sight more useful and adjustable.

Replacement Windows "start"

 

As you can see on the left, when you click on the new icon – you get your usual tools on the left (you select which ones you want) – and favourites you want on the right – you don’t have to go looking for them – under all programs you get to see everything you’ve installed – and there’s a “favourites” star to click if you want the item shown here.

Marvellous.