Most recent posts


Dell TB16 dock - banner

Dell’s new Thunderbolt dock

Ten months ago – 10! It seems like yesterday – I upgraded my Dell XPS 13 to the latest version at the time and purchased a Dell TB15 Thunderbolt dock to go with it. Although the laptop is great, the dock has been anything but. Let’s put it like this: it took a long while for the drivers to stabilize enough for me to actually use it properly. Where ‘properly’ means some approximation of correctly. (For example, the Ethernet port was incredibly flaky and so I bought a Plugable USB-C dock to help out...

READ MORE

Automating the pasting of code in blog posts

So, just before Christmas, I switched to using a client-side library to highlight the code in my blog posts . The library I chose was Prism JS , and it works by marrying up some JavaScript and CSS to specially decorated pre and code elements so that their content (the code itself) is highlighted nicely. Specially decorated? Yep, it looks like this in the HTML: <div class="jmbcodeblock"> <pre><code class="language-foo"> _the code to be shown highlighted_ </code></pre>...

READ MORE

Replacing Microsoft Money – Moneyspire

Next on my saga of finding the best replacement for Microsoft Money – well, OK, the best for me – is Moneyspire . Actually, I half-heartedly tried this out some 8 months ago, but I wasn’t feeling the urge at the time and I stopped. At that time they produced a free version for a single account (if I recall correctly) but that’s now been dropped: you can get a two-week trial version with limited accounts and transactions, or pony up some cash for the Basic or the Plus version. I Paypaled $75 for the...

READ MORE

Replacing Microsoft Money – Moneydance

Well over a year ago, I upgraded my main machine at the time to Windows 10, and the one app that caused install and running issues was Microsoft Money . Since then it’s been pretty stable for me (and I’ve even got it running on a new, totally different machine), but I’m always well aware that one day, I’m going to run into some insurmountable problem with it, and then I’m hosed. So, better to think about a replacement for it while it still works, and what better time for that than over the New Year...

READ MORE

Highlighting code in blog posts

Once upon a time, I wrote a plug-in for Windows Live Writer that took code that had been copied from Visual Studio to the clipboard and converted it to an HTML pre block for my blog posts. The different colors were maintained during this conversion (in essence VS copies the code as RTF) so that the code displayed here in my blog posts would be nicely highlighted. I even published it to GitHub so that it could also be used for Open Live Writer too. That was then, but this is now. Advantages: it’s...

READ MORE

@media queries and face palms

This is a story with many moving parts. It ends with a complete and utter face palm, so stay tuned… One Our inkjet printer has been having paper feed problems for a while. Send something to the printer, it either doesn’t feed at all or feeds 3 or 4 sheets at once. Plus it was starting to not print in the leftmost inch, inch-and-a-half of the page. Time for a new one. I unpacked it and installed it this lunchtime. Nice and quiet and works perfectly. Two Until a couple of hours ago, this site used...

READ MORE

Goodbye Firebug, I knew you well

Some eight (!) years ago, I started to learn JavaScript from the viewpoint of a C# programmer. I wrote a series of blog posts here on the subject, and fairly early on I started using Firebug in Firefox for my experiments in coding and debugging this weird yet wonderful language. Yes, I could’ve moved on to Chrome and its developer tools, but I liked Firebug and I could get things done. The JavaScript on this blog site (and others I own) were completely debugged using Firebug. Firebug convinced me...

READ MORE

Silence

There’s a pretty good easy-listening guitar-based album from Dominic Miller called Shapes . He’s been working with Sting for a long time, and one of the tracks on the album is an extremely good re-recording of Sting’s Shape of my Heart song. All well and good as a recommendation, but what’s this got to do with anything? Bear with me… Three or four years ago, I bought a third-party add-on for the stereo in my car to allow it to play music from my iPhone. It’s not just a audio link, but using it you...

READ MORE

Scam HTTP_REFERER problem

My wife has a small blog for her hobby. I am, for my sins, her IT guy for it. She posts to it about once a week, maybe twice, and of course, after every post there’s a small uptick in views. All nice and normal. About a couple of months ago, I began to notice something weird happening. There was one post in particular that was getting 50-75% of all the views per day. There was nothing too striking about the post itself, but we laughed it off, imagining that it was obviously remarkable enough that...

READ MORE

Beware standards: a JSON story

Actually it’s more like a couple of little cautionary tales in one. If you’re a developer, I’m sure you’re familiar with the concept of JSON, a very simple data format used for transferring data from computer to computer, from application to application. So simple in fact, it’s pretty much replaced XML as the way to transfer some data over the internet. It was first invented by Douglas Crockford as a natural extension of his work with JavaScript, with the name standing for “JavaScript Object Notation...

READ MORE