28 February 2011

Flickr FREE account - making it work

Flickr is a great service for storing online photographs. First of all, it's FREE and allows unlimited storage and you can always download the original sized images to boot. Of course, despite these fantastic features, the FREE service is limited to 300MB uploads a month and also only being able to see the most recent 500 uploads on your photostream; the old uploads are still there but are lost on the photostream and Flickr hopes you'll cough up the $24 per year to get them back on your photostream again.

If you wanted to be REALLY cheap (which I can be :)) you could track every URL of every picture you've ever uploaded and never need to become a paying customer (but that really is kind of cheap, especially since Flickr isn't all too pricey anyway). I won't go on about all the alternative photo-sharing sites available in this post, however, because there ARE alternatives, but since I am a fan of FLICKR (and have been since well before Flickr took over YAHOO Photo's), I am going to focus on a few tricks I've developed to keep my free account alive and working for me.

The basic concept is simple: you upload your pictures in batches every month (and if you take more than 300MB of decent photo's in a month this won't really work out for you and you'll need to buy into Flickr's service, which I think is what they expect to be the case) and then you copy and paste the picture URLs into a spreadsheet for easy referral later on. I've set up a GOOGLE SPREADSHEET for this and I have categories and sub-categories so it's easy to search for what I want, and then just hit the URL to load up the picture (if it's lost on my photostream).

The problem comes in when you have to manually copy and paste one hundred shortcuts; this can be REALLY time consuming, so instead I've set up a basic EXCEL MACRO to do most of the work for me. It's still a bit laborious, but to save $2 a month is worth the satisfaction for me, although truth be told I am only moments away from becoming a paying subscriber because I really don't like the monthly upload limitations for the FREE account.

Anyway, I digress: the point is, you can keep your FREE account alive and kicking using the following tricks that I've hacked together.

21 February 2011

Free Steam Games List

A buddy of mine reminded me of this site, and he wants to share the love, so I'm sharing the love on my blog :)


At the time of writing (and as Oltman points out, last updated 2011/01/23) the list included, amongst others:

For all Steam users:
Alien Swarm: install - storefront
America's Army 3: install - storefront
BattleForge [1][4][7]: install
Between [1][4]: install - storefront
Codename Gordon: install
COIL [1]: install - storefront
Mightier [1]: install - storefront
Moonbase Alpha: install - storefront
Peggle Extreme: install - storefront
Sam & Max: Episode 4: install - storefront
Spacewar: install
TrackMania Nations Forever [2]: install - storefront

Software: DisplayFusion

It's the 21st century now and if you spend your entire (working) life at a computer desk, you'll probably find yourself benefiting from running dual screen. One monitor is your "regular" and "always-on" applications (i.e. email, usually) and the other monitor is your "occasional" applications (i.e. IM, random browsing, and such). If you're a serious I.T. big-wig (i.e. "nerd") then you'll probably find multi-tasking is a whole lot easier with dual-screen: application development or systems administration is just a lot simpler with two or more monitors. The major hurdle is often how to quickly and easily shift displays across, aside, above, below. This is where DisplayFusion steps in!

Image used without permission but for promotional purposes so it's okay :)

* if you don't use multi-screen, jump to the bottom of the post for tips on how DisplayFusion can still benefit your sad single-screen life...

DisplayFusion claims that it will "make your multi-monitor life much easier" and it really does! Some of the features include:

  • Multi-monitor taskbar
  • Advanced Wallpaper Management
  • Window Snapping
  • ... and so much more
Of course, many of these features come at a price, but for the sake of my post, I will focus on the FREE stuff, since most of my followers (read: friends and family) are cheap-skates :)
  • Different image on each monitor
  • HotKeys (for move, size, span, "always on top", transparency)
    • Includes move to centre, move to next monitor, size and move to bottom/left/right/top
    • This is worth the whole application IMHO and is also as useful on a single screen scenario.
  • Customisable TitleBar Button
  • Toggle Window Edge Snapping

... and like I alluded to earlier: if you don't own multiple screens on your current setup, you should still find the HotKeys for moving and sizing the window very helpful, and I really think this feature alone is worth the download!

16 February 2011


[ UPDATE: 13 Feb 2012 ]

If you want the 2012 fixtures calendar check out this post: http://brattex.blogspot.com/2012/02/super-15-rugby-fixtures-calendar-2012.html

[ UPDATE: 28 Feb 2011 12:40pm]

There was a glitch with the fixtures for 11 March landing up on 1 March instead. Have fixed that so please update your calendars if it isn't set to synch.

[ UPDATE: 17 Feb 2011 11:40pm]

The downloadable calendar somehow has a region timezone error and adds a double +2 for South African calendars, so everything was starting 2 hours later than it should have. 

I've now created a whole new calendar that works properly when importing into GOOGLE CALENDAR, and as an extra bonus I've included the play-offs at the end and the proper durations  (i.e. start and stop times) for each match. I'll admit I also considered renaming "Durban" to "Kings Park!!" but decided in the end to try to remain professional in case someone else used my stuff. 

Click here to download the CSV file for importing into your favourite calendar application

[ END OF UPDATE: 17 Feb 2011 11:40pm ]

If you want to add the Super Rugby Calendar for 2011 to your (insert technology here) then follow these links to grab the GOOGLE CALENDAR. I've shared it so you should be able to grab it directly and link to it.

Note: This has been verified to work with GOOGLE CALENDAR and BLACKBERRY OS5.* and upwards.

* you can add iCal format calendars directly into your GOOGLE CALENDAR account by loading up calendar.google.com and then at the bottom under "Other calendars" clicking Add by URL.


* you can bookmark this on any device that has an HTML browser and you'll always have the calendar directly at your fingertips.
** I've set up a tinyurl to point to the calendar, and it's located at: 

I can't take all the credit for this, I found the rugbyoracle wordpress and took the calendar from there, but it didn't import (the steps are included there if you want to go straight to the source and try for yourself) so I had to do some tweaking to get it working. Thanks also to The Robert Group Financial Advisor blogspot that also helped point me to the source.

14 February 2011

Free Thunderstone promo pack!

If you're at all interested in CCG (AKA "deck-building") then this may interest you: AEG is giving away 4,000 promo packs of their best-selling Thunderstone Card game!

I won't bore you with the details, because it's free and worth a look :)