Category Archives: Entertainment

In defence of Top Gear

Last week, Top Gear did a piece on driving electric cars to Cleethorpes. They have been slated by the pro EV, anti Top Gear lot after it turned out the Nissan recorded the battery and geolocation stats for the Leaf. And they have form, in 2008 they lied about the Tesla running out of juice around the track.

However as some who lives in Lincoln, has family in London and Cleethorpes I was interest in the piece to see if an EV would be worth it for me (if it wasn’t for the fact that I can’t even afford a £500 ten year old car right now).

So what did I learn?
The cars are f-ing expensive! £35k for a small car!
Without a fast charging point it takes hours to recharge.
The battery won’t make it from Lincoln to London.

but wait, didn’t they fake the bit about running out in Lincoln? Continue reading In defence of Top Gear

Samsung Galaxy S II Tricks

The following tricks/hacks are a list of things which I’ve either discovered or found elsewhere on the internet.

Screen Brightness
If you prefer to set the screen brightness down to zero, you’ll find that outside you can’t see the screen. Instead of hunting through the menus you can do this quick trick to whack the brightness up to full.
Press on the Status Bar at the top around the middle, hold for about a second, now drag to the right. As you reach the right hand side of the screen it should get brighter. You can do the same dragging to the left to decrease the brightness.
This can be tricky to start with, however once mastered can be done without much effort.

Screen Shots
Want to capture a winning score in Angry Birds, or show how great your desktop is? Trying to find a way to get an image of the screen? On other Android models your options were to root your phone and install ShootMe or to connect your phone to your computer via USB, install ADB and run some software. However Samsung have stolen taken inspiration from Apple, and allow you to hold the Home button and press the Power button to capture the screen. Images can be found in the Gallery in the Screenshot folder.

Stop the Home Button Waking the phone Root only
I liked the fact that on my Nexus to access the phone you had to use the Power Button, whilst others wanted Trackball Wake, I wanted the screen to stay off unless I really wanted it on. However the Galaxy, like the iPhone wakes just by pressing Home, and my daughter already knows this trick.
To stop the phone waking, you will need to be rooted, have something like Root Explorer. Here navigate to /system/usr/keylayout, mount the phone for R/W and edit sec_key.kl.
You are looking for the line
key 102    HOME     WAKE
just delete the word WAKE, save the file and reboot the phone.

Any more I come across will be added to this post.

Samsung Galaxy S II

Galaxy S II Vodafone Box Back in May I got my upgrade, in the end I opted for the Samsung Galaxy S II. It’s on Vodafone, 12 month contract, £49 up front, £50 a month (minus a nice staff discount). The phone came with the first three Pirates of the Caribean DVDs (no idea why), and amazingly my phone was unbranded out of the box (all others appear to have light Vodafone branding).

So what to say about this phone.
Continue reading Samsung Galaxy S II

Deleting old emails in Gmail

Gmail is great, with nearly 8gb of storage there really is no need to delete old emails, instead just archive them and then when you need to find an email from 4 years ago you can find it via the powerful search engine.

However I have a collection of emails which are auto filtered from my webserver letting me know that the firewall has blocked access to an IP or that I’ve logged in with the root password. Whilst useful at the time, not really need for more than a month, let alone years. You might have the same with a discussion board, or freecycle.

So the quick way to delete them all:

In the search box enter label:webserver older:2011/05/12
Once loaded you should be able to click on the select all button (although it’s no longer labelled).
Just above the first email you should now see “All 20 conversations on this page are selected. Select all conversations that match this search”. Click on the link.
You can now click on the Trash/Delete button.
All the old emails have now been trashed.

For the search field the date is in YEAR/MONTH/DAY format, instead of label: you can use from: so from:[email protected] older:2010/06/12 for all emails from Lincoln Freecycle older than a year.


The other night whilst in bed I thought
* ooh could do with a book to read,
* think I still have £10 of Amazon vouchers,
* what was that book called which featured God in the title and was in the Radio 2 book club the other month,
* quickly launch on the phone,
* find the “desktop version” link, then the book club link,
* discover the book is called “When God Was a Rabbit“,
* launch the Kindle app and search,
* price is £4.99, reasonable,
* press Buy
all done in under 5 minutes.

It’s this reason why I really like having the Kindle App on my mobile. It gives me instant access to a book, on a device I already carry around with me all day long, so if I’m in a queue, in bed, on a train, in a coffee shop, I can continue to read from where I last left off.
Continue reading Kindle

HTC Sensation or the Samsung Galaxy S II

It’s that time of the year where I can now upgrade my mobile, and I’m stuck with the dilemma between picking the HTC Sensation or the Samsung Galaxy S II.

Both appear to be great phones and spec wise not much between them.


1.2GHz Dual Core Processor
Screen 4.3″
Gorilla Glass
Gingerbread (with the promise of 18 months worth of firmware upgrades)
8mp Camera with 1080p video capture
TV Out via MHL cable
Play the TV shows I’ve “recorded”
Both available for the same price on the same contract
Continue reading HTC Sensation or the Samsung Galaxy S II