Automatically deleting old emails in Gmail

As a follow up to my post Deleting old emails in Gmail 3 years ago, I’ve now found a way to automatically delete old emails from Gmail.
This trick uses the rather unknown Google Scripts, a Javascript engine which runs on Googles servers.

  • Pop to Gmail and test some searches, eg label:webserver older_than:1m this will find all emails labelled webserver and are older than 1 month (full list of search options here.
  • Once you are happy that your search result has found the emails you don’t want, go to script.google.com.
  • Select Create script for GMail
  • Delete all the example code
  • Enter this code
    function deleteOldEmails() {
    var threads = GmailApp.search('label:webserver older_than:1m');
    GmailApp.moveThreadsToTrash(threads);
    }

    ensuring you replace label:webserver older_than:1m with your search phrase
  • Save you project
  • Press run
  • Once the notification at the top has gone, check back in Gmail to confirm your emails have been deleted.
  • To automate, click on the Clock icon, Add a new trigger. Select your function, you want it Time-driven, and for me I’ve selected Month timer, 1, Midnight to 1:00am

The result will be on the first of every month Gmail deletes all emails older than 1 month from my webserver folder.

o2 and the over zealous family filter?

So if you’ve been on social media this weekend you will have seen a number of tweets like this with people astounded that their site is being blocked by o2.


Did they discover this because they couldn’t access the site on their mobile? No because they followed a link someone else tweeted, entered their URL and saw the word BLOCKED.
So what exactly is “Parental Control”, this page on the o2 website explains:

Parental Control is a service we offer to help parents to protect their children while they’re online. It enables us to restrict children’s web access via their mobile to a limited number of sites which are suitable for children.

It’s opt-in, and mainly aimed for children under the age of 12 who for some reason have their own mobile. As such it’s a whitelist of sites known to be ok. Search for lego and you get this:
Lego.com
Parent control isn’t part of the government “think of the children”, nor “urgh nasty pictures on the internet, that grown adults might get pleasure from”, it’s a service that o2 have been offering for years, but have had very little take up.

The setting which stops naughty websites from appearing on your phone is “Default Safety“. If it’s anything like Vodafone’s “Content Control” this is the default every phone number is set to. You need to opt out of this if you want to view sites such as the one below:
o2 Pornography.
Proof of age in a store, or payment taken on a credit card was what we used to have to deal with and again it’s been like that for years. Mobile networks have had a list of pervy customers before David Cameron started his latest crusade.

Of course your site may be child friendly and even educational, but until you tell o2 that you believe it’s suitable, you’re not going to magically appear on a whitelist.

Notes

  • I notice that o2 have added the line (opt in u12 service) to the results page to attempt to clear things up since yesterday.
  • Of course mobile data blocking won’t do much help when most phones have access to WiFi and most public WiFi only restrict adult sites.

NowTV Entertainment Pack

So earlier this week Sky announced that their NowTV service offers the ability to live stream several of their channels, plus get on demand with some back catalogues.
It’s an additional monthly cost on top of the Movies or Sport, but at £4.99 a month with no contract it seemed like a worthwhile trial.

The current channels available are

  • Sky 1
  • Sky Living
  • Sky Atlantic
  • Gold
  • Comedy Central
  • Fox
  • MTV
  • Sky Arts 1
  • Discovery Channel
  • Disney Channel

Continue reading

Tasker, Zooper and my TP-Link M5350

TP Link M5350I mentioned before that I have a MiFi device. It’s a TP-Link M5350. It’s light, portable and easy to use. However one thing I noticed was getting the battery level.
It has an OLED display, which shows the signal bars, number of connected devices, if WiFi is running, the network you are on, the up and down speeds, the current usage and a battery icon.
From quick tests it would always show empty to full animation when on charge and it only had around 4 icons for normal usage.
But what I wanted to know was a percentage level for the device.

Logging in to the web-gui for the router you get more icons along the top, however a title element on the battery shows the current level of charge. Although getting this number to appear on my phone was going to be tricky.
MiFi Homepage

So I wondered if I could get my devices to make a HTTP request to the device, get past the security, find the relevant code and output that in a clear way.
Continue reading

In praise of Three

Working in mobiles for over 8 years I’ve seen the rise in coverage of 3G networks. I know how they work, unless you are in a major city you are going to have limited coverage. Trying to read Facebook in Toys-r-us in Lincoln? Better make sure your near the window. Going out in to the country? Tough.

So when I got myself a Samba SIM to use with my tablet for a laugh I though I would check the coverage of Three (who Samba use) around me. Samba Coverage I was surprised to see them claim that for almost my whole commute they would provide at least “outdoor” 3G coverage.

So I put it through a test. Continue reading

FAWSL – All about the money?

So the 2013 Women’s Super League is now over, with Liverpool the league winners and Arsenal a surprise third. Next season will see the league expanding to two tiers with 18 teams. Manchester City being placed straight in to WSL1, Lincoln Ladies moving over the Trent to Notts County and Doncaster Belles being demoted to WSL2.

There have been cries of the league turning in to a franchise system, and the money seems to buy you status. But here’s the thing, the league has one main purpose, to be filled of professional players and the only way that’s going to happen is if someone is going to pay them to play.

For the last three seasons I’ve been to most home games for the Lincoln Ladies and this year was even a season ticket holder. I preferred the atmosphere of having the games at Ashby Avenue, but do accept that the quality of the pitch including the floodlights which were player side of the advertising hoardings wasn’t as great as Sincil Bank, and as Sincil Bank is only a 2 minute walk from my house a little quicker to get to.

However after 3 years turnout in Lincoln is still low. Most games just bring in 300 fans, and those sorts of numbers aren’t helping pay the wages. I’m disappointed to see them leave, but I do think it’s in the best interest of the team and game for them to go. The Chairman (who owns both County and the Ladies) can make the most of the assets he already has like the kits, bus and especially the training facilities.

Liverpool’s reversal of fortune from being consistently the worst in the league to winners this year is all down to money, commitment and regular training. Hopefully something the team can learn from.

Despite this season being the worst placed they have been, I hope the team keep most of the players and their manager Rick Passmore. If they could just work out how to score more goals they might have a chance at moving up the league. Defensively they’ve been one of the better teams, with only Arsenal conceding fewer.

This year two players shone out, Remi Allen who would always go in for a tackle and had no fear, and Martha Harris who helped the England Under 19 reach the finals of this years Euros tournament.

And so on the problem with Doncaster. Being told you were being relegated after one match of the season wasn’t the greatest idea by the FA, however with the Women’s Premier League still running an August-May fixture schedule, teams being promoted up from this league needed to know what was going on sooner rather than later. I’m slightly disappointed that after the 11 month gaps the first time around the FA hadn’t moved the rest of the Women’s ladder to a summer schedule, but that’s where they were.

Doncaster finished their first two seasons second from bottom, have had some of the lowest gates, little sponsorship, and along with being third in line to arrange fixtures at the Keepmoat, it’s wasn’t the greatest surprise that their bid fell short of what the FA were looking for. And whether it was knowing the inevitable, or just being the weakest team this season, they finished last, having lost 8-0 to Arsenal and 9-0 Liverpool.

Positives I’ve seen this season: BT Sport have appeared to made a greater effort than ESPN did with the rights to the game, and the BBC not only have been running the Womens Football Show (although at the most stupidest time of the day for any young women to watch), but also covering results in the news. The league no longer looks like it’s just a chance for Arsenal to show how great they are, with strong competition from the other teams.

Hopefuls for next season: Higher turnouts; more games televised, it’s not as if BT Sport have much else to show to not do one game a week; a better league cup tournament now the league has 18 teams instead of 8. A chance for me and Beatie to get to some games, Nottingham is close, but not on the doorstep, and I might even attempt an Arsenal home game as well. Finally for Notts County to get in to the top half of the league, might not be Champions League material yet, but you can get there one day.

Gluten Free Starbucks

One of the problems when you have coeliac disease is that you hear rumours that something you thought was safe might not be. Sometimes these turn out to be true (Smarties), other times not.

I had heard that some of the Frappuccinos in Starbucks might be a problem. and a Google search for Gluten Free Starbucks brought pages from the US suggesting no to skinny syrups, hot chocolate and the strawberry and cream fraps. But you learn that what’s safe in one country might not be in another, so I asked them myself. Surely the Choc Chip Cookie Frap would be a no-go, how about anything else?

Well below is the response I got:

Dear Ryan,

Thank you for contacting Starbucks.

I can confirm that none of our hand crafted beverages currently available in our stores are made with ingredients that contain wheat or gluten.

We also have a selection of food items which are made from ingredients free of wheat and gluten to enjoy with your beverage.

Currently this includes:

  • Gluten Free Ham Cheese and Coleslaw Roll
  • Fairtrade Chocolate Brownie (please request a wrapped product)
  • Chocolate Hazelnut Loaf Cake (please request a wrapped product)
  • Fruit Salad
  • Creamy Natural Yogurt
  • Very Berry Compote (condiment for yogurt)
  • Maple and Honey Sauce (condiment for yogurt)
  • Fairtrade banana
  • Two varieties of Fruit & Nut Bars
  • Nut Mix
  • Roasted Almonds
  • Sea Salt Potato Chips
  • Fairtrade Chocolate bars – Dark and Milk

Please ask the barista in store if you are unable to locate these items.

We appreciate your interest in our product range and look forward to welcoming you into your local store.

Thank you for taking the time to contact us and we look forward to welcoming you back to your local store soon.

Sincerely,

Frank D

So all hand-crafted drinks (as of today, might change in the future) are ok. That means I can continue to waste my money on Peppermint Lattes and Caramel Fraps.

Last.fm vs Spotify

I’m not too fussy with my music and after a change of job I now have the chance to put the headphones on a listen whilst at my computer. My music collection is reasonable, but I find myself wanting a radio style mix of music, but without the radio presenters.

The two companies I’ve been playing with for the last couple of months are Last.fm and Spotify.

For nothing a month on Last.fm you get webstreaming and visual ads, with the music stopping if you don’t look at the site regularaly enough.
Spotify provide a web app, with Last.fm like radio stations, plus the ability to listen to albums or tracks at will. But at nothing a month you have limited playtime and the rather annoying Kia Cee’d adverts every third song.

In theory both services free offerings should provide me with what I need. Web access radio on Last.fm and the choice to listen to an album at will with Spotify.

However there is a firewall issue with Last.fm at work and the radio streams either fail completly, or if they do play leave 5 minute gaps between tracks.

Because of this I then have to look towards the premium services.
For £3 a month Last.fm provide non-stop, ad-free radio on both PC and mobile.
For £5 a month Spotify provide non-stop, ad-free radio and choose-your-own albums for the PC.
For £10 a month Spotify provide everything on your mobile as well, plus offline storage.

By selecting the £3 Last.fm pro account I can listen to the music on my phone* which gets around the firewall problem without putting a large dent in to my wallet. I also find that the Last.fm radio service is just “better” than Spotify. I’m not sure if this is because my Last.fm account dates back to October 2005 and that they have better data on me, or I’m just used to it.

That said if/when Google release All Access to the UK, maybe I’ll look at it all again.

* when I say listen on my phone my actual setup is slightly more awkward, I have my phone connected to the laptop to draw power, the phone bluetooth audio paired with the laptop, and my headphones connected to the laptop. This allows me to continue to listen to audio elsewhere (Spotify/YouTube) without having to broadcast it to the whole office, or having to unplug the headphones each time.

FAWSL Fixtures 2013 Google Calendar

So after deciding that I wouldn’t bother this year, I gave in when the new fixture list was published last week.
After multiple lines of copy paste, edit, tweak I began to think surely my computer can be doing most of this. So I sat down and spent more time than I would have liked looking at the Google Calendar API, and finally managed to knock together some PHP which took the text I had copied from the FAWSL fixture list and inserted them as Google Calendar events.
Fortunately I can now reuse this code for future seasons and other possible events like the Euros or World Cup.
But now that it’s done what next. Well the calendar is public so if you too want the fixtures you can add the calendar to your account. The easiest way is to click the + Google Calendar button below. Or if you prefer ICAL or XML copy the link address and add it to your software.
As with my other public calendars I will try to ensure that it is up to date as possible, but this does require noticing when a fixture has been moved. Let me know if you spot any.

Don’t worry, it’s not that I don’t want to eat your cake

Photo from Flickr, by Hudson, The @diskoponySo you’ve offered me cake, and rather surprisingly I’ve turned you down. I know, odd isn’t it. Ryan never turns down cake. So it can only mean one thing, your cake is bad.
Well, no. What it means is that my body is bad.
I’m not on a diet, I have no need to lose weight, instead I have Coeliac disease.
Every time I eat gluten my body reacts and damages my gut. So unless a cure is found, for life I can no longer eat gluten. If you have ever watched The Great British Bake Off, it’s the stuff which makes cakes and bread sticky (and tasty).

Which means unless it’s been specially made, no:
Cake;
Biscuits;
Bread;
Rolls;
Beer;
Weetabix;
Shredded Wheat;
Pasta;
Pie
and three months ago these were a very large part of my diet.

Fortunately fresh meat, veg and fruit are fine, as well as chocolate without biscuit.
Unfortunately the wheat substitutes are expensive. £2 a (half) loaf of bread.
At the moment the government and local health authority allow me to get gluten free products on prescription, hopefully this will continue, as it helps keep the costs down.

So if you do offer me anything don’t feel embarrassed that I turn it down, or spend a couple of minutes reading the back of a packet, it’s not you, it’s me.